September 24, 2013
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683

Pregnant Women, New Moms, and Others With New Babies in Their Lives Are Encouraged to Take Part in Wisconsin Programs To Quit Smoking for Baby's Sake

September is National Infant Mortality Month

MADISON-It is no secret that breaking an addiction to nicotine is extremely difficult, even when there is a strong incentive to quit-such as during pregnancy or when there's a new baby in the house.

Currently, at least 13 percent of women in Wisconsin smoke during pregnancy--that's higher than the national average of 9 percent. Smoking while pregnant can lead to a host of complications, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, low birth-weight, birth defects and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

"Sadly, the addiction is so powerful and the stress on some women is so high, it can override even the strong desire pregnant women have to protect themselves and their babies. Fortunately, there are programs available to help women quit smoking while pregnant and stay smoke-free once the baby is born," said Karen McKeown, Wisconsin Division of Public Health Administrator.

Wisconsin's First Breath Program provides quit-smoking counseling to expectant mothers. In addition, Badger Care Plus members who are pregnant and smoke may be eligible to participate in Striving to Quit. Striving to Quit is a study that offers many of the benefits of the First Breath Program, with two additional benefits: participants may be eligible for cash incentives for quitting smoking, plus up to a year of post-partum quit support.

"Unfortunately, a third of women who quit smoking while pregnant start up again shortly after giving birth," said Sue Ann Thompson, director of the Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation. "We are very excited to offer postpartum support while we study what works to help new moms stay smoke-free."

Household smoke, often referred to as secondhand smoke, is also harmful to babies.

"Secondhand smoke can lead to ear infections, asthma, and increase the risk of SIDS," McKeown said. "Fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other smokers with a pregnant woman or a newborn in their life should show support for mom and baby and get their own quit-smoking assistance by calling the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW."

For more information on First Breath, visit:
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