The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), along with its statewide partners, is celebrating the significant reduction in smoking rates among pregnant women in Oklahoma. Data have shown a dramatic decline of more than one-third (33.5 percent) in smoking among pregnant women since 2009. Along with this improvement, there has been a drop in infant deaths of more than 10 percent. In recognition of Infant Mortality Awareness Month, September is the ideal time to recognize these noteworthy improvements.
“To help continue this positive trend, we encourage women to be healthy before and during pregnancy,” said Director of Maternal and Child Health Service Joyce Marshall. “Many factors affect birth outcomes including smoking during pregnancy. Although we’ve seen a significant decrease in smoking rates, most recent data indicates that one out of every eight Oklahoma women continues to smoke during the last three months of pregnancy. As we celebrate improvements in smoking rates among pregnant women, we acknowledge that more needs to be done to support women and their families to quit smoking.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking during pregnancy remains one of the most common preventable causes of pregnancy complications and of illness and death among babies. Smoking during pregnancy can contribute to premature birth, low birth weight, certain birth defects, and miscarriage. Even being around others who smoke exposes a baby to chemicals which can have a lifelong impact. By quitting smoking, a pregnant mom can:
*Increase chances of the baby having healthier lungs.
*Increase the amount of oxygen for the baby, therefore, helping the baby grow.
*Reduce likelihood that the baby will develop asthma, allergies and other lung conditions.
*Decrease the baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
No matter how far along in the pregnancy, a mom and her baby will be healthier if she quits using tobacco and vapor products. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is a free statewide resource available for all Oklahomans who are thinking about quitting or ready to quit tobacco. Oklahomans can call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669) or register online at https://okhelpline.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Family and friends can support a woman’s healthy choice to quit smoking by not smoking around a pregnant mother. The helpline is also available for family and friends to provide additional support by quitting smoking themselves.
The Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility Initiative aims to reduce infant mortality through various programs and activities. A list of program partners is included below. To learn more about being healthy before, during, and after pregnancy visit http://iio.health.ok.gov.