ADVERTISEMENT

Recent Stressful Events Linked With Smoking During Pregnancy

Stress and cigarette smoking seem to go hand-in-hand with each other as many people, especially women, report smoking to relieve stress. The perinatal period (including pregnancy and postpartum, the period after delivery) is also known to be a stressful time. We completed a study to examine the relationship between stressful life events (such as losing a job or moving) with cigarette smoking during the perinatal period.

Using data from 15,136 women who completed the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) survey in 2009-2011, we sought to answer two questions. First, if women had more stressful life events, were they more likely to continue smoking during pregnancy? Second, among the women who quit smoking during pregnancy, were those who had more stressful life events more likely to go back to smoking after pregnancy? To do this, we looked at cigarette smoking before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after pregnancy. We also looked at the number of stressful life events women reported in the year prior to pregnancy. We asked about the following 13 events: husband/partner lost job, mom lost job, had a lot of bills that couldnā€™t be paid, moved to a new address, was homeless, someone close to mom died, got separated/divorced, argued with husband/partner more, husband/partner or mom went to jail, was in a physical fight, husband/partner didnā€™t want mom to be pregnant, someone close to mother had a drug or alcohol problem.

ADVERTISEMENT

Women who continued to smoke pregnancy were more likely to experience six different stressful life events. Specifically, they were 24% more likely to report the death of someone close to them, 45% more likely to report having bills they couldnā€™t pay, 55% more likely to report someone close had a drug or alcohol problems, 70% more likely to report being in a physical fight, 75% more likely to report husband/partner or mom went to jail, and 103% more likely to report homelessness.

In contrast, women who returned to smoking after having their baby were more likely to experience just one stressful life event. Specifically, women who went back to smoking after having their baby were 36% more likely to report they experienced the death of someone close to them.

Overall, this indicates there is a link between recent stressful events and perinatal smoking. This link may be especially strong smoking during pregnancy, given six stressful events were linked to smoking during pregnancy whereas just one was linked to smoking after pregnancy. It is important to note that we were unable to determine which happened first ā€“ the stressful event or the smoking. That is to say, we do not know if the stressful life event caused the smoking or if they just happened to occur more often in the same person. However, the next step in this line of work is to explore how management of stress may help women quit smoking during pregnancy, perhaps through meditation or counseling. Because smoking during pregnancy causes a wide range of health problems for both mom and baby (such as premature birth and low birth weight), stress management during pregnancy may help women quit smoking and improve their health, as well as the health of the baby.

These findings are described in the article entitled Stressful life events are associated with perinatal cigarette smoking, recently published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments

READ THIS NEXT

Marriage Can Protect Against TribulationĀ 

The psyche should also benefit from a bond for life. Researchers have now noticed a certain degree of protection against […]

Can Cultivation Be Part Of A No-Till Farming System?

Farmers in Australiaā€™s northern grain growing regions embraced no-till farming decades ago to preserve scarce soil moisture, reduce the risk […]

Curbing “Addictive” Behavior In Soft Drink Consumption

Humans, unfortunately, seem to have a propensity for addictive behavior. Whether it be binge-eating, alcohol abuse or even more abstract […]

Hurricane Maria’s Death Toll In Puerto Rico Higher Than Official Counts

Researchers have figured out that as many as 4,640 people died in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria pummeledĀ the country in […]

Governments And Companies Move To Get Rid Of Single Use Plastics

It is thought that around 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year, the majority of which finds itself […]

On The Shoulders Of Giants, Part 2: Stewart Wolf And The Pharmacology Of Placebos

In comparison to Henry Beecher’sĀ much-cited paper, “The Powerful placebo,” of 1955 (1), Stewart Wolf’s paper, “The pharmacologyĀ  of placebos,” of […]

The Use Of Emotions Can (Also) Be Learned, According To A Twin Study

Whether you suppress your emotions or look at them from a different angle to make them less painful depends to […]

Science Trends is a popular source of science news and education around the world. We cover everything from solar power cell technology to climate change to cancer research. We help hundreds of thousands of people every month learn about the world we live in and the latest scientific breakthroughs. Want to know more?