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Newly-defined factors may prevent postpartum smoking relapse
Date:8/27/2008

ee life after pregnancy. Ripley-Moffitt and colleagues interviewed pregnant women attending prenatal clinics in central North Carolina who had quit smoking before 30 weeks gestation. Of the 94 women enrolled in the study, 43 had remained smoke-free and 51 had relapsed when interviewed at 4 months postpartum.

Researchers asked all women about their decision to quit during pregnancy, how they quit, and what they would do in the future.

Women who had remained smoke-free were asked about the benefits they had experienced, how they would handle temptations to smoke, how they had rewarded themselves for not smoking, and what support they might need to remain smoke-free.

Women who had relapsed were asked to describe specific situations that caused them to return to smoking, their feelings about smoking again, perceptions about the dangers of secondhand smoke, and what would need to be different in their lives in order to stop smoking again.

Several factors emerged to differentiate the two groups of women. Those who remained smoke-free postpartum were bolstered by strong social support, strong internal belief systems, strong beliefs in postpartum health benefits of not smoking, negative experiences with a return to smoking and concrete strategies for dealing with temptations.

Women who relapsed postpartum were undermined by easy access to cigarettes, reliance on cigarettes to deal with stress, lack of financial resources, lack of resources for childrearing and low self-esteem.

The findings may enable researchers and clinicians to distinguish between pregnant women who will ultimately relapse from those that remain smoke free postpartum, Ripley-Moffitt said. The findings also suggest that any new programs aimed at improving quit rates must be comprehensive in nature they must give women the tools to acquire new skills, deal with addiction and improve life circumstances, socially and financially.

"Many of the women
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Contact: Stephanie Crayton
scrayton@unch.unc.edu
919-966-2860
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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