FRISCO — A state program aimed at helping low income expectant mothers quit smoking cigarettes has shown positive results in reducing the chance of babies being born prematurely or with serious health issues.
The Baby & Me Tobacco Free Program is an evidence-based smoking cessation program that aims to reduce the burden of tobacco on pregnant and postpartum women. The program provides counseling support and other resources to pregnant women to help them quit the habit during and after pregnancy.
A new study published by the Rocky Mountain Health Foundation and the Colorado School of Public Health found a significant reduction in infant morbidity among Baby & Me program participants. Mothers graduating from the program had their risk of preterm birth reduced by 24% to 28%, as well as a 24% to 55% reduction in risk of neonatal intensive care unit admissions. The study also found significant medical cost savings as a result of the program, with an estimated $4,144,118 in savings in Colorado health care costs.
In Summit County, the program provides financial incentives for participants that includes gift cards for free diapers or baby wipes. The program involves monthly counseling sessions with a county public health official — four before baby is born and 12 for each month after birth. Each successful counseling session provides a gift card for diapers or wipes for the mother and, if she chooses, for another person such as a partner, family member or friend who is also trying to quit smoking.
This past Wednesday, Jan. 22, a young family attended their final counseling session at the Summit County Public Health office in Frisco and graduated from the Baby & Me program. Mother Ashley, father Ryan and healthy 1-year-old baby Mayla have finished all 16 sessions of counseling, with both parents successfully quitting tobacco. Both parents said they had not been able to quit before attending the program.
“The program kept you accountable for your actions, and being able to get the gift cards was a big incentive to keep coming,” Ashley said. “With both of us participating, the gift cards covered all the diapers for her for the entire year.”
The program is available for qualifying expecting mothers who have have been daily smokers within the past three months. Mothers willing to participate in the program can apply by contacting Whitney Horner at Summit County Public Health by calling 970-668-9199.
This content was originally published here.