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ABSTRACT

Recent studies suggest that few maternity care providers are offering the assistance that women need to reduce or stop smoking during pregnancy. This is probably because of a lack of conviction among providers that they can be effective, a perception that they lack counseling skills, and the absence of reimbursement for counseling and self-help materials. Midwives have strong counseling skills and materials will soon be available that can help them and others become trained smoking counselors. Thus, midwives can easily adopt the techniques that have been shown effective in reducing or stopping smoking during pregnancy. These are a 5- to 10-minute counseling session at the first prenatal visit by a trained provider plus appropriate print materials (pregnancy-specific and culturally- and reading-level-appropriate). Guiding the smoker to select a date for quitting and checking on smoking status at each visit increase the likelihood of behavior change. These techniques should increase the quit rate, over spontaneous quitting, by 10%–20%. Managed care organizations looking for ways to reduce costly hospitalizations for low birth weight infants or ambulatory care visits for smoking-related illnesses in infants and children should support this intervention. Medicaid and tobacco settlement funds are potential sources of reimbursement for counseling and educational materials. © 1999 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.