Urgent need to continue anti-smoking campaigns after pregnancy

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Research from Curtin University has shown that support for quitting smoking should continue even after the birth of their first baby, as many of these women will become pregnant again and quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of future preterm births. .

The longitudinal study looked at the records and histories over 23 years of 63,540 Australian women with more than one child who smoked during their first pregnancy.

Lead researcher Professor Gavin Pereira of the Curtin School of Population Health said more than a third of women who smoked during pregnancy were able to quit for their next pregnancy.

“Our research found that for over 30% of expectant mothers to smoke, quitting smoking for their next pregnancy was achievable and, most importantly, could reduce the risk of early delivery in a subsequent pregnancy by up to 26%,” said Professor Pereira. .

“Although the benefit of quitting smoking in reducing harm to unborn babies is well established, the prevalence of maintaining the quit message in the next pregnancy and the associated risk of preterm birth was lower. including. This is what our research was looking to address.

“What is clear from the study is that maintaining stop and support messages for women who smoked during pregnancy, even after birth, can have a very positive outcome for them and their babies. later. “

Professor Pereira expressed concern about the number of women who allegedly smoked during pregnancy.

“According to the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 75% of smokers continue to smoke after 20 weeks, after finding out they are pregnant,” said Professor Pereira.

“The second trimester is vital for the growth and formation of an unborn baby – organs continue to develop, and the liver, pancreas and kidneys all begin to function. Babies also begin to hear sounds, such as than the mother’s heartbeat.

“Smoking during this crucial time cuts off oxygen to the unborn baby and exposes it to a cocktail of chemicals, including those that cause cancer. This could stunt growth and development, increase the risk of a cleft palate and alter the baby’s brain and lungs. “

While research has shown the need for continued anti-smoking campaigns for those who chose to smoke during their first pregnancy, Prof Pereira urged those who are considering starting a family, those who are already pregnant or have recently given birth. not to smoke at all.

“Among mothers who smoked during their first pregnancy, the risk of having a preterm birth during their second pregnancy was 26% lower than among those who continued to smoke.”

“Despite smoking during a first pregnancy, a woman can turn the tide for her next pregnancy to reduce complications for the unborn child. Quitting smoking is possible and is always the safest option. ”

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