By Sharon Muza, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE
Parents who become pregnant while being a smoker may find it difficult to change this behavior, even with the knowledge that smoking harms their baby. Risks to the fetus from a parent who smokes include low birth weight, premature birth, placental complications and lower rates of effective oxygenation.
According to the most recent (2011) Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System (PRAMS) data from 24 states, approximately 10% of pregnant people smoked in the last three months of their pregnancy. It's possible that this number would be higher, as not all 50 states participated.
The good news is that Quit4Baby, a text message based stop smoking program for pregnant people, has been proven to successfully help pregnant smokers stop this behavior during their pregnancy.
Quit4Baby sends text messages to help pregnant people quit smoking. Messages include tips and advice, assistance in setting a quit date, support and fun games to help get through cravings, and a tracking system to monitor success. Quit4Baby is part of the Text4Baby program that sends out important information on pregnancy and early parenting. Other benefits of the program include the fact that people who enroll in Quit4Baby can remain anonymous, and those enrolled do not need to actively seek out more information on quitting -- as it comes directly to them.
A recent study - "A Randomized Trial of Text Messaging for Smoking Cessation in Pregnant Women" -examined the impact of enrolling in Quit4Baby, and found enrollment in the Quit4baby smoking cessation enrollment program helped more pregnant smokers stop their smoking behaviors. 28.8% of the intervention group and 15.79% of the control group reported not smoking in the seven days prior to questioning at the one-month mark, once enrolling in the program. At the three-month mark, 35.2% of the intervention group and 22.67% of the control group reported not smoking in the seven days prior to the three-month mark.
People can enroll without identifying themselves and are obtaining information privately so that friends and family are not aware, since many of them may be not openly smoking. Regular and consistent information containing tips about stopping smoking, and the benefits to themselves and their babies provides many opportunities to hear a similar message without judgment.
Abroms, L. C., Johnson, P. R., Leavitt, L. E., Cleary, S. D., Bushar, J., Brandon, T. H., & Chiang, S. C. (2017). A Randomized Trial of Text Messaging for Smoking Cessation in Pregnant Women. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA) BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE has been an active childbirth professional since 2004, teaching Lamaze classes and providing doula services to more than a thousand families through her private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is an instructor at the Simkin Center, Bastyr University where she is a birth doula trainer. Sharon is also a trainer with Passion for Birth, a Lamaze-Accredited Childbirth Educator Program. In September 2011, Sharon was admitted as a Fellow to the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators. In 2015, Sharon was awarded Lamaze International’s Media Award for promoting safe and healthy birth. Very active in her community, serving in a variety of positions that promote maternal-infant health, Sharon enjoys active online engagement and facilitating discussion around best practice, current research and its practical application to community standards and actions by health care providers, and how that affects families in the childbearing year. Sharon has been an engaging speaker at international conferences on topics of interest to birth professionals and enjoys collaborating with others to share ideas and information that benefit birth professionals and families. To learn more about Sharon, you are invited to visit her website, SharonMuza.com.