Many Australian women who smoke don't quit during pregnancy, a study shows,
and when they cut back it's only by a couple of cigarettes a day.
Queensland researchers studied the smoking prevalence among a group of more
than 260 pregnant women at an antenatal clinic.
They found 37 per cent of the women were smokers before they fell pregnant,
and this declined to about 25 per cent once they became aware of their
Dietitian and health psychology researcher Shelley Wilkinson, from the
University of Queensland's School of Psychology, said the small reduction in
smoking rates was consistent with the national trend.
"The disappointing thing is there still are 25 per cent who are still
smoking," Ms Wilkinson said.
Those who continued to smoke, Ms Wilkinson said, reduced their intake from
an average of 16 cigarettes a day to 13.
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, and a host of
health problems for the baby linked to an increased risk of premature birth
and low birth weight.
Ms Wilkinson said the research showed the importance of improving services
to help these women quit smoking.
"This is a time when the majority of women are in touch with a health
service, and are motivated to make changes," Ms Wilkinson said.
"These women know that they need to give up but they need more help, so this
is a time when we should be providing more services."
The study also found that more than 40 per cent of women in the study were
overweight or obese, they consumed half the recommended serving of fruit and
a third of the recommended serving of vegetables.
Source : Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.