“Pregnancy can be a stressful time in a woman’s life. And women who smoked prior to pregnancy may turn to smoking or continue to smoke as a way to mitigate this stress,” lead author Samir Soneji said in a Dartmouth College news release.
“Thus, it is incumbent upon health care providers who care for pregnant women to have a renewed focus on smoking cessation,” said Soneji, an associate professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Lebanon, N.H.
Investigators analyzed data on more than 25 million U.S. women, ages 25-29, who gave birth between 2011 and 2017.
Along with finding that quitting smoking was associated with reduced risk of preterm birth, the researchers found that timing mattered: Those who quit smoking at the start of their pregnancy had up to a 20% reduced risk of preterm birth.
“Pregnancy is often a time when women have more frequent contact with the health care system, and this increased contact provides expectant mothers an opportunity to discuss their concerns about smoking, including their attempts to stop, and receive the support and resources they need to safely and successfully quit,” Soneji said.
The study was published April 19 in the journal JAMA Network Open.
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SOURCE: Dartmouth College, news release, April 19, 2019