Objective: To assess the effects of telephone-based support on smoking, preterm birth, low birthweight, breastfeeding, and postpartum depression.
Data sources: Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group trials register (March 2006), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (March 2006), Medline (1966-2006), EMBASE (1980-2006), and CINAHL (1982-2006). Secondary references were scanned and experts in the field were contacted.
Study selection: All published, unpublished, and ongoing randomized controlled trials of telephone support interventions in which the primary aim was smoking, preterm birth, low birthweight, breastfeeding, or postpartum depression were reviewed.
Data extraction: Data were independently extracted by both authors and double entered into the Cochrane Collaboration's Review Manager (2003) software.
Data synthesis: Trials evaluating different primary outcomes were analyzed separately. For dichotomous data, results were presented as summary relative risk with 95% confidence intervals. For continuous data, weighted mean difference was used.
Conclusions: Proactive telephone support may (a) assist in preventing smoking relapse, (b) play a role in preventing low birthweight, (c) increase breastfeeding duration and exclusivity, and (d) decrease postpartum depressive symptomatology. No telephone interventions were effective in improving preterm birth or smoking cessation rates. Additional research is encouraged.