Pregnant and unable to quit smoking? Try text messaging

 Researchers recruited pregnant women who were already enrolled in an established text messaging programme called "Text4baby".  

Pregnant and unable to quit smoking? Try text messaging

New Delhi: Smoking is a savage addiction and a habit expecting mothers find extremely tough to get rid of.

Tobacco smoking during pregnancy is related to many effects on health and reproduction, in addition to the general health effects of tobacco.

Numerous studies have shown that tobacco use is a significant factor in miscarriages among pregnant smokers, and that it contributes to a number of other threats to the health of the fetus. Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke can keep the developing baby from getting enough oxygen.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking during pregnancy can cause tissue damage in the unborn baby, particularly in the lung and brain, and some studies suggests a link between maternal smoking and cleft lip.

However, a study has found a solution for to-be mothers to help them kick the butt. Try some text messaging programme as it provides help for pregnant women in fighting the urge to light up a smoke, the study says.

"Our findings show that a text messaging programme helped some groups of pregnant women quit smoking during pregnancy," said lead author Lorien C. Abroms, associate professor at George Washington University.

Researchers recruited pregnant women who were already enrolled in an established text messaging programme called "Text4baby".

"Text4baby" has been found to have a positive health impact on alcohol consumption during pregnancy, but not in smoking.

Researchers wanted to find out if a more intensive mobile phone programme called "Quit4baby" would be more effective.

"Quit4baby" is targeted to smoking cessation and sends more text messages between one to eight per day aimed at bolstering a pregnant woman's resolve to quit. It allows a woman to text back for more help if she is experiencing a craving or goes back to smoking.

To find out, the team recruited nearly 500 pregnant women, who smoked an average of 7 cigarettes per day and wanted more help to quit.

After three months, 16 percent of the women who were enrolled in both "Text4baby" and "Quit4baby" had quit, compared with just 11 percent of women getting just "Text4baby".

"The study's findings published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggest a potential new quitting strategy, especially for those later in their pregnancies and older pregnant women," Abroms mentioned.

The combo of "Text4baby" and "Quit4baby" helped women aged 26 or older and those in the second and third trimester of pregnancy quit through the delivery date and in some cases beyond.

However, the researchers found that the resolve to quit seemed to disappear postpartum as many of these women started smoking again.

(With IANS inputs)