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This study investigates the socio-demographic characteristics of pregnant women who stop smoking …

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- Which women stop smoking during pregnancy and the effect on breastfeeding duration

Despite considerable public understanding of the dangers of smoking during pregnancy, prevalence levels in Australia range between approximately 17%, reported in 2001, and 35%, reported in 1996 [1,2].

Substantial public health gains remain to be made in perinatal mortality and morbidity through the reduction of smoking during pregnancy [3] and pregnancy appears to be a time when women are highly motivated to quit smoking in the best interests of their unborn foetus. However, despite this not all women choose to quit smoking at this time and the differences between women who do stop smoking during pregnancy and those who don't may be caused by factors that can be influenced.

Lu et al reviewed nine cohort studies and found that the determinants of smoking cessation during pregnancy included maternal age, parity, number of cigarettes per day and duration of smoking, education level, partner's smoking status and socioeconomic status [4]. Furthermore, Ershoff, Solomon and Dolan-Mullen found additional sociodemographic and psychosocial differences between women with low intentions to stop smoking and those with high intentions [5]. In order to develop successful maternal smoking cessation public health programs the major determinants of quitting smoking during pregnancy need to be incorporated into intervention efforts.

The research team has already reported a significant increase over a 10 year period in the number of women breastfeeding upon discharge from hospital in Perth, Western Australia [6]. Likewise the major determinants of breastfeeding duration have been identified from the Perth Infant Feeding Study (PIFSII) cohort study [7]. The aims of this study were to document the number of women stopping smoking during pregnancy and to further examine the factors influencing the ability to stop smoking at this time. In addition, consideration was given to the exploration of variables (alcohol use before and during pregnancy; and attendance at antenatal classes) not previously reported in the Australian literature. The relationship between stopping smoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding duration was also examined.

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