Aims: Self-help smoking cessation interventions for pregnant smokers are of importance due to their potential to be wide-reaching, low-cost and their appeal to pregnant smokers who are interested in quitting smoking. To date, however, there has been no systematic assessment of their efficacy. This systematic review aimed to assess the efficacy of self-help interventions for pregnant smokers and to investigate whether self-help material intensity, type or delivery are associated with cessation.
Methods: The literature was searched for randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials of self-help smoking cessation interventions for pregnant smokers without significant cessation counselling. Fifteen trials met the inclusion criteria and relevant data were extracted independently.
Results: The primary meta-analysis pooled 12 trials comparing usual care (median quit rate 4.9%) with self-help (median quit rate 13.2%) and yielded a pooled odds ratio (OR) of 1.83 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.23-2.73], indicating that self-help interventions on average nearly double the odds of quitting compared with standard care. However, a further meta-analysis failed to find evidence that intervention materials of greater intensity increase quitting significantly over materials of lesser intensity (pooled OR = 1.25, 95% CI 0.81-1.94). There was insufficient evidence to determine whether the tailoring of materials or levels of one-to-one contact were related to intervention efficacy.
Conclusions: Self-help interventions appear to be more effective than standard care although, due mainly to a lack of trials, it is unclear whether more sophisticated and intensive approaches increase intervention effectiveness.