NRT safest for pregnant smokers

Expectant women are being strongly advised to try nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or to consult with a counselling service.

Following a new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia about the safety of NRT for pregnant smokers, Cancer Council Australia CEO Professor Sanchia Aranda is reminding women to quit smoking, particularly before falling pregnant, and to seek the support they need to do so.

“We know there are serious negative health effects on the foetus if women smoke during pregnancy – like being born prematurely, a low birth weight and a doubled risk of stillbirth – so we need to continue to remind women of the importance of quitting before starting a family,” she said.

“The review of the latest research provides some reassurance that using NRT during pregnancy is safe for those who need this additional support. This should be reassuring for pregnant mothers who choose to use this method of quitting, as well as health practitioners recommending it to patients.

“Most clinical guidelines recommend that NRT be offered to women who have trouble quitting, but previous research has shown that the number of prescriptions given to women who continue to smoke is low. For women who continue to smoke during pregnancy, NRT should be considered, alongside counselling services such as the Quit Line.”

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