News Friday September 16, 2011

Smoking rates among pregnant women not lowered by counselling

An analysis of a number of clinical studies has shown that counselling is not a very effective tool to help pregnant women to stop smoking.

The analysis, which was written up in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, involved eight previous clinical trials involving almost 3,300 pregnant women. This particular research was focused on determining whether counselling had an impact after six months on pregnant women who smoked. Of the eight trials, four showed no discernable difference between groups of pregnant smokers who quit smoking and had received counselling and groups that quit without receiving the counselling. Four other trials showed a small difference in the quit rates of the two groups, with the group that had received counselling slightly more likely to have quit.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Kristian Filion, told Reuters Health that the researchers were “a little surprised” by the results that indicated “the small effect” of the counselling. He was cautious about recommending nicotine replacement therapies for pregnant women, saying that evidence of “the safety and effectiveness” of these products is limited in pregnant women, and that further research in this area is necessary to “understand the risk-benefit ratio” of NRT in pregnant women.

Smoking cessation medications such as Champix are recommended to most smokers, but the lack of clinical data regarding the safety of the medication for pregnant women means it is not generally recommended to pregnant women. Dr. Filion advised that the best time to quit using such methods is before getting pregnant. Comments

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