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Matern Child Health J. 2012 Jul;16(5):937-40. doi: 10.1007/s10995-011-0837-2.

Smoking cessation intervention for pregnant women: a call for extension to the postpartum period.

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Lighthouse Institute, Chestnut Health Systems, 448 Wylie Drive, Normal, IL 61761, USA.


The association between smoking during pregnancy and adverse maternal/neonatal health outcomes is widely acknowledged, and recent health care reform has filled a much-needed gap by extending prenatal smoking cessation intervention coverage to all pregnant women on Medicaid. While more extensive coverage will improve quit rates during pregnancy, there continues to be a need to address high relapse rates in the postpartum period for both the insured and the uninsured. Smoking during the postpartum period exposes infants directly and indirectly to negative health effects, and has additional costs to mothers and society. Approximately 80% of women who quit smoking during pregnancy relapse in the first year postpartum, highlighting a need for effective continuing care that supports them through the challenging postpartum period when stress is high and motivations to stay quit may change. Existing relapse prevention interventions, typically delivered during pregnancy, have been found to be of little benefit during the postpartum period, suggesting the need for a more formal continuing care approach. Phone-based protocols are promising because they address the need for flexible access, and are known to be effective at increasing quit rates and sustained cessation.

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