Text messages improve smoking cessation in pregnant women

Text messaging expectant mothers with information regarding smoking cessation increases rates of adherence during pregnancy, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Ensuring an expectant mother has a healthy baby requires a cessation of smoking and drinking. In this study, researchers examined the effect of an interactive text messaging program on smoking cessation in pregnant women who were also enrolled in a health text messaging program. The Quit4baby program, a part of Text4baby, sent messages to women one to eight times a day regarding education about the health risks of smoking during pregnancy. The program also allows users to text back for additional support if they have a craving.

The study enrolled 497 pregnant women who smoked an average of seven cigarettes a day, and researchers then surveyed results at one month, three months and six months. Results, when compared to the Text4baby group, showed 28.8 percent of the Quit4baby group reported not smoking in the past week at one month. This rate increased to 35.2 percent at three months. Overall, the platform helped women ages 26 and older to quit smoking in the second and third trimester but many returned to smoking following the delivery.

"Our findings show that a text messaging program helped some groups of pregnant women quit smoking during pregnancy," said lead author Lorien C. Abroms, ScD, MA, an associate professor of prevention and community health at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. "The study's findings suggest a potential new quitting strategy, especially for those later in their pregnancies and older pregnant women."