Smoking Behaviour before, during, and after Pregnancy: The Effect of Breastfeeding


Data for this study were obtained from a population-based follow-up study in 25 Italian Local Health Units (LHUs) to evaluate pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care in Italy. A sample of 3534 women was recruited and interviewed within a few days of their giving birth and at 3, 6, and 12 months after delivery, by trained interviewers using questionnaires. The objective of the study was to evaluate changes in smoking behaviour from one interview to the next. Of 2546 women who completed the follow-up, smoking prevalences before and during pregnancy were 21.6% and 6.7%; smoking prevalences and smoking relapse at 3, 6, and 12 months were 8.1% and 18.5%, 10.3% and 30.3%, and 10.9% and 32.3%, respectively. Smoking during and after pregnancy was more likely among women who were less educated, single, not attending antenatal classes, employed, and not breastfeeding. The results show that women who are breastfeeding smoke less than not breastfeeding women, even after controlling for other predictors (i.e.,  smoking relapse at 12 months: OR = 0.43, 95%  CI:  0.19, 0.94). A low maternal mood increases the risk of smoking relapse within 6 months of about 73%. This study also suggests that prolonged breastfeeding reduces the risk of smoking relapse and that this reduction may be persistent in time. Interventions targeting breastfeeding promotion may also indirectly support smoking cessation, even in absence of specific interventions

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This paper was published in PubMed Central.

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