A new study found that when pregnant moms quit smoking during pregnancy – especially early in pregnancy – their babies are less likely to be born preterm.
West Virginia has by far the highest rates of smoking while pregnant in the country. More than a quarter of West Virginia moms smoke during pregnancy, compared to a national rate of 7.2 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Smoking while pregnant is associated with a host of issues for baby, including low birth weight, preterm delivery and even death.
The study, published this month in the online Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at more than 25 million pregnant women. About a quarter of them smoked prior to pregnancy but quit during pregnancy.
They found that the earlier the women quit smoking, the more they reduced their risk of preterm birth, even if they were heavy smokers prior to pregnancy.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.