Objective: To describe the range of risk reduction behaviors among women who continue to smoke after learning of their pregnancy, including reduced tobacco use, eventual cessation, and sustained abstinence as well as the patient-reported smoking cessation-promoting behaviors of prenatal care providers.
Methods: This research is part of a larger prospective, community-based study conducted to assess the association between maternal stress and birth outcomes and infant health and development. Over a 2-year period, from February 2000 to November 2001, women receiving prenatal care at a consortium of public health centers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were consecutively recruited (n = 1,451) completing interviews at their initial prenatal visit and again 3 to 4 months following their delivery. Smoking rates during pregnancy were determined from responses given during the first postpartum interview, at 3 to 4 months postpartum.
Results: Of the 1,451 women interviewed at 3 to 4 months postpartum, 24.9 percent indicated smoking during their pregnancy. Of these antenatal smokers, 89.0 percent reported reducing their cigarette consumption during pregnancy. However, only 25.4 percent attained abstinence during their pregnancy. Among women who achieved abstinence during their pregnancy, 21.7 percent were still not smoking at the time of the postpartum interview. Antenatal smokers reported that prenatal care providers asked about their smoking (90.6%) and advised about quitting (76.5%). However, only 27.9 percent were given referrals to smoking cessation programs.
Conclusion: While cessation was achieved by only a quarter of antenatal smokers, almost 90 percent reduced their cigarette consumption. Prenatal care providers identified and provided cessation advice to the majority of women who were smoking but they did not follow through with material assistance in the form of referrals to smoking cessation programs.