It’s no secret that smoking during pregnancy impacts on the health of the mother and her baby however one in ten Victorian women are smoking in pregnancy, according to a survey of recent mothers conducted by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.
The study, which was published in the journal Birth, aimed to investigate whether guidelines about quitting or reducing smoking during pregnancy, which were introduced over a decade ago, had changed practise in Victoria. The guidelines were developed in an effort to help health professionals encourage and support women to quit smoking in pregnancy.
The study surveyed over 1000 women in 2000 before the guidelines were introduced and then surveyed over 1500 women in 2008 after the guidelines had been implemented.
The study found while the majority of women are now asked about smoking in early pregnancy, about half of those smoking did not receive advice on how to stop smoking or cut down, were not given written information, were not told or referred to stop smoking programs and were not asked about smoking on subsequent visits.
Lead researcher, Dr Jane Yelland said that it was pleasing to see that smoking guidelines in Victoria has had a positive effect on the number of women being given support to give up smoking, but more needed to be done to ensure women received the full range of support and advice throughout the entirety of their pregnancy.
“It’s great to see the implementation of smoking guidelines in Victorian public hospitals has improved the extent to which pregnant women receive advice and support to stop or reduce smoking.”
“However with only half of all smokers receiving the full complement of smoking cessation advice according to state guidelines, more efforts are needed to ensure this advice and support is fully implemented in everyday clinical practice in pregnancy care.”