In 2003, the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health conducted a best practices review funded by Health Canada to examine smoking cessation interventions tested in pregnant populations. This report, Expecting to Quit: A Best Practices Review of Smoking Cessation Interventions for Pregnant and Postpartum Girls and Women, was updated in 2011 and calls upon two main questions:

  • Based on current evidence, what are the most effective smoking cessation/reduction interventions for pregnant and postpartum smokers?
  • What interventions are most effective at preventing relapse postpartum?

5 Ways to Change Your Practice

When it comes to prenatal care, many health care providers believe that they don’t have adequate time to address smoking, or that the stress of stopping smoking may negatively affect the fetus or the mother’s ability to care for her child after birth.

In fact, evidence-based recommendations for engaging smokers are designed to be implemented in as little as 5 to 10 minutes. Having all the necessary tools to engage your patients can greatly enhance your efficiency in delivering appropriate intervention. While pregnancy can increase women’s stress level, there is no evidence to suggest that quitting smoking during pregnancy increases stress or negatively impacts the health or well being of the woman or the fetus. On the contrary, there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that stopping, reducing, or quitting smoking has great health benefits for woman, fetus and baby.


Okoli, C.T.C., Greaves, L., Bottorff, J. L., and Marcellus, L. M. (2010). Health care providers’ engagement in smoking cessation with pregnant smokers. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing. 39(1), 64-77. PMID: 20409104