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Weight Concerns Spur Women to Smoke Again After Pregnancy

Finding helps explain high postpartum relapse rate, experts say

FRIDAY, Sept. 22, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Weight-gain worries may help drive women who quit smoking during their pregnancy to start up again after delivery, new research shows.

U.S. researchers interviewed 119 pregnant women in their third trimester who had smoked at least eight cigarettes a day but quit when they became pregnant.

Of those women, 65 percent said they were highly motivated to avoid cigarettes after delivery, and 74 percent of expressed confidence that they'd be able to do so.

"Motivated women were more likely to say they could control their weight without smoking and less likely to say they used smoking to control their weight," study author Michele Levine, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.

The study also found that women who were motivated to remain cigarette-free after delivery were also more likely to say they planned to breast-feed their babies.

The findings dealt only with what the women said they intended to do after delivery, not what they actually did, noted Boston psychologist Elyse Park, who was not involved in the study.

"Most women who are smoking want to quit during pregnancy, but the reality is that very few of them are able to do so. Even in women who are successful, very few are able to maintain quitting," Park said in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about smoking and pregnancy.

SOURCE: Center for the Advancement of Health, news release, Sept. 15, 2006
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