OLYMPIA, Wash. Washington’s state Department of Health has added new services to its free Tobacco Quit Line to provide pregnant women with more help when they’re ready to quit using tobacco in preparation for Mother’s Day, the agency announced Thursday.
The new tools include quit materials and extra follow-up calls specifically to help pregnant women increase their chances of quitting and remaining tobacco-free after the baby is born. Quit coaches have received additional training to better understand the challenges pregnant women face when trying to quit smoking.
In Washington, more than 8,700 babies are born each year to women who smoke during their pregnancy, the agency reported.
“Quitting smoking is a Mother’s Day gift that a pregnant woman can give to herself and her baby,” stated Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “Babies with moms who smoke are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and have health problems like ear infections and pneumonia. These new resources will make a real difference in the health of pregnant women and their babies.”
Washington’s maternal smoking rate has remained stagnant over the last several years. In 2006, about 12 percent of pregnant women reported smoking during the last three months of their pregnancy. Some groups continue to have higher than average rates, particularly young women (18 percent of those less than 25 years old), women receiving Medicaid benefits (17 percent) and American Indian women (23 percent). More than 40 percent of women who quit smoking during pregnancy start again within months after giving birth.