"Our findings show that a text messaging programme helped some groups of pregnant women quit smoking during pregnancy," said lead author Lorien C. Abroms, associate professor at George Washington University.
Researchers recruited pregnant women who were already enrolled in an established text messaging programme called "Text4baby".
Researchers wanted to find out if a more intensive mobile phone programme called "Quit4baby" would be more effective.
"Quit4baby" is targeted to smoking cessation and sends more text messages between one to eight per day aimed at bolstering a pregnant woman's resolve to quit. It allows a woman to text back for more help if she is experiencing a craving or goes back to smoking.
To find out, the team recruited nearly 500 pregnant women, who smoked an average of 7 cigarettes per day and wanted more help to quit.
After three months, 16 per cent of the women who were enrolled in both "Text4baby" and "Quit4baby" had quit, compared with just 11 per cent of women getting just "Text4baby".
"The study's findings published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggest a potential new quitting strategy, especially for those later in their pregnancies and older pregnant women," Abroms mentioned.
The combo of "Text4baby" and "Quit4baby" helped women aged 26 or older and those in the second and third trimester of pregnancy quit through the delivery date and in some cases beyond.
However, the researchers found that the resolve to quit seemed to disappear postpartum as many of these women started smoking again.
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