Program to help pregnant women quit smoking

Monday, March 7, 2016

Marshall Women's Care at Fitzgibbon Hospital recently received training on how to implement the BABY & ME - Tobacco Free Program, a prenatal cessation program to reduce the burden of tobacco use and help improve birth outcomes. The evidence-based program helps women quit smoking and stay tobacco free after their baby is born.

"We know the harm tobacco use causes to pregnant women and their unborn child," said Debbie Smith, RN-C, Director of Women's Services at Fitzgibbon Hospital. "We also know that pregnant women are highly motivated to quit smoking. This program is research-based and proven to help our pregnant women quit smoking and not return to smoking after the baby is born."

The particulate matter in second-hand smoke, which is present in homes of moms who return to smoking after the baby is born, contributes to the development of childhood asthma, other respiratory problems and has been linked to an increase in childhood illnesses.

"Smoking during pregnancy is a known cause of premature and underweight births," says Laurie Adams, BABY & ME - Tobacco Free Program Founder and Executive Director. "Marshall Women's Care at Fitzgibbon Hospital is a perfect fit for implementing this program."

Adams provided the technical support and training to the staff and providers at Marshall Women's Care so that women can be enrolled in the free program.

Women who enroll in the program, quit smoking, and stay tobacco free after the baby is born receive diapers at no cost for up to 12 months. The program is in 15 states across the country and has helped thousands of women quit smoking and stay tobacco free.

"The researched program is an effective cessation method, and we are thrilled to be working with Marshall Women's Care to offer it to pregnant women in their community," said Adams. "The greatest gift a woman can give her baby is a tobacco-free pregnancy and a tobacco-free home. We look forward to seeing the success of the program."

The project is funded by a grant from the March of Dimes. Marshall Women's Care and Fitzgibbon Hospital's participation in the program is another way the staff is working to impact mother and baby care. The hospital was awarded the designation as a Baby-Friendly Facility in December of 2014 by Baby-Friendly U.S.A. and the World Health Organization following the great strides taken to creating a positive baby-friendly experience for moms and babies.

Adult smoking rates in Missouri have reached an all-time low of 20.6 percent, while rates in Saline and surrounding counties remain as high as 33 percent in some areas. This shows the need for more programs and cessation services to help county residents quit smoking. Smoking during pregnancy is known to cause birth defects, premature births, underweight babies and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), to name a few. Quitting smoking greatly reduces the health risks to the mother and baby.

For more information on enrolling in the BABY & ME - Tobacco Free program at Marshall Women's Care, call 660-886-7800.