West Florida AHEC, New Directions in Community Health

"Educating Toward a Healthier Community"

Pregnant

Pregnant and Using Tobacco Products

Tobacco use is prevalent among a variety of populations.  West Florida AHEC seeks to assist each of these populations, including pregnant tobacco users.  “It is estimated that between 20 percent and 30 percent of low birth weight babies are born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

West Florida AHEC offers expecting mothers a separate, more specialized Quit Smoking Now class.  While expecting mothers are more than welcome to attend a regular Quit Smoking Now class, a separate class is important – women are less concerned with judgment, more empathetic with one another, and are able to support and receive support from women facing the same concern of the health of their unborn child.  It is also encouraged that the mother’s support system to take part in the cessation class because more often than not, the mother’s loved ones’ use tobacco and are likely to quit or change behaviors in the same attempt.

Following the birth, West Florida AHEC will continue to offer Quit Smoking Now courses or provide information for individual counseling, if needed.   According to QSN’s Pregnant Smoker’s Supplement Guide, there is a 70—85% likelihood of relapse after delivery therefore, follow up is vital.  Positive reinforcement and support by one’s social network should be maintained throughout the pregnancy and post‐delivery to more effectively prevent relapse.

The Quit Smoking Now Program tailored toward pregnant women is instructed by a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist and Nicotine Replacement Therapy is provided to participants to support their quit plan, free of charge.  The instructor is available for follow up and support.

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