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Quitting and pregnancy

Products that can help other smokers quit like nicotine patches, gum, inhaler and lozenges, and the nicotine-free pill, are not generally recommended for pregnant women. Therefore, for pregnant women who want to quit the help of the Quitline and their health professional is even more important.

Research has shown that using a telephone support service like the Quitline can significantly increase a smoker's chance of quitting for good. This is also the case for pregnant smokers. Programs to help pregnant women quit can be effective, and should be used routinely. The type of programs found to be most effective are intensive, use multiple contacts with the pregnant smoker, and multiple formats, such as personal counseling and written resources. Follow up contact is an important part of a successful program. The Quitline offers all these.

In Victoria the Quitline has developed a specific service tailored to the needs of pregnant smokers. This service is unique to Victoria, and Quitline telephone advisors receive special training for this program.

The service that is offered is the result of a pilot study conducted in 1998 and 1999 by Quit Victoria and the Royal Women's Hospital. The aim of the study was to develop a program to help pregnant smokers quit, using the Quitline telephone callback service. The study showed this program is cost effective, easy to implement, helpful and acceptable to pregnant smokers. The results found that the Quitline Pregnancy Callback service is particularly effective in helping women who quit spontaneously when they become pregnant to stay quit during and after the pregnancy.

About Quitline's Pregnancy Callback Service

The Quitline Pregnancy Callback program offers support to pregnant women throughout their pregnancy and after their baby is born. Calls are made at important times, such as a planned quit day, or times when a pregnant woman or new mother may be under increased risk of relapse such as weaning. The caller can ring the Quitline as well, whenever she wishes.

Callers to the Quitline service who disclose to the counsellors that they are pregnant, are offered the telephone callback service to support them throughout the pregnancy and after their baby is born.

Counsellors are trained to address the particular needs of this group of smokers, and the service is available for the cost of a local call from anywhere in Victoria.

If the partner of the pregnant woman also smokes and wants to quit, he can also ring the Quitline and receive free telephone support and resources.

The Pregnancy Callback Service can be accessed by calling the Quitline on 13 7848 for the cost of a local call from anywhere in Victoria.

Dolan Mullin et al, Walsh and Redman and Lumley et al  

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