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Birth. 1998 Jun;25(2):94-100.

Smoking and smoking relapse during pregnancy and postpartum: results of a qualitative study.

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School of Nursing, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.



The purpose of this study was to describe women's smoking experience during pregnancy and postpartum. Primiparous women recruited during a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of postpartum visiting were invited to participate in a qualitative study.


A semistructured protocol guided the face-to-face interview. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Data were coded independently by the authors, and the final coding system for emergent themes was developed through a consensus process.


Of the 47 women invited to participate, 22 agreed to be interviewed. Three major themes emerged from the analysis: pregnancy as a context for stopping smoking, returning to smoking, and social pressures on smoking behavior. Concerns about the baby's health were cited as central reasons for stopping. Breastfeeding provided a reason for continued smoking cessation, whereas social events often demarcated a resumption of women's smoking choices.


Results provide guidance for the timing and content of interventions to prevent smoking relapse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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