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October 29, 2013

Tools support smoke-free pregnancy

TERRE HAUTE — Nearly one in five pregnant women in Indiana smokes, a rate almost twice the national average. Affecting more than 14,000 Hoosier babies each year, prenatal smoking is associated with a number of serious health risks for mother and baby. Each year in Indiana, the cost of hospitalization for mothers and infants due to premature birth from smoking totals almost 30 million dollars. But health care providers and other professionals often struggle to help women overcome tobacco addiction during such a stressful time.

In response to this, a team of experts in tobacco cessation and women’s health has designed a free smokefree pregnancy resource toolkit especially for professionals who work with women. Promoting Smokefree Pregnancies in Indiana is a statewide coalition dedicated to reducing the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy. One of the group’s goals is to ensure health care and other service providers who work with pregnant women have access to the latest, research-based solutions for helping them become smokefree.

“Effectively helping pregnant women quit tobacco is an art and a science. We hope this toolkit will give providers some practical ideas for creating an effective tobacco cessation system for their patients and clients,” said Larry Humbert, executive director of Indiana Perinatal Network and a member of the coalition’s leadership team.

The document, available for free download at www.bringinginalong.org/

pspi, offers recommendations based on the latest research and shares examples of activities that have been successful in other states to reduce prenatal smoking. For instance, when Wisconsin launched its comprehensive program to help pregnant women on Medicaid to quit smoking, the state saw a savings of more than $1,000 for each member who successfully quit.

The coalition’s new website also features information about the dangers of smoking during pregnancy, resources to help tobacco users quit, profiles of champions for smokefree pregnancy, and a directory of local resources and activities. This spring, the coalition facilitated workshops in 13 communities across the state to discuss strategies for helping women overcome tobacco addiction and to celebrate the work of local champions currently addressing this issue.

A new program, Baby and Me — Tobacco Free, was implemented in Vigo County on Oct. 1. The program is dedicated to helping pregnant tobacco users quit successfully and stay quit after delivery. Participants of this program will meet with the program counselor at least four times during the pregnancy. Postpartum, they will meet with the counselor once a month for six months. At these postpartum meetings, women who have remained tobacco free will be given a $25 voucher for diapers each month. Baby and Me — Tobacco Free will be housed at Union Hospital’s Family Medicine Center. Tobacco-using OB patients at the Vermillion-Parke Community Health Center and the Clay City Center for Family Medicine also will benefit from this program by meeting with the counselor via the Wabash Valley Rural Telehealth Network. For more information on the program, contact Carrie Evans at 812-478-4136.

The Promoting Smokefree Pregnancies in Indiana community is completely free and open to anyone with an interest in healthy, smokefree pregnancies. Supporters can connect with the coalition on Facebook and Twitter.

PSPI is funded by a grant from the Indiana State Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission and housed at the Indiana Public Health association. It also is an effort of Bringing Indiana Along, a statewide program whose mission is to reduce the burden of tobacco among vulnerable populations.

 

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