Advancing, promoting and sharing knowledge of health through excellence in teaching, clinical practice and research into the prevention and treatment of illness

Physical activity as an aid to smoking cessation during pregnancy: Two feasibility studies

Ussher, M; Aveyard, P; Coleman, T; Straus, L; West, R; Marcus, B; Lewis, B; Manyonda, I (2008) Physical activity as an aid to smoking cessation during pregnancy: Two feasibility studies. BMC PUBLIC HEALTH, 8 (328). ISSN 1471-2458
SGUL Authors: Ussher, Michael Henry Manyonda, Isaac Tainzana

["document_typename_application/pdf; charset=binary" not defined] Published Version
Download (284kB) | Preview


Background: Pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation have not been adequately tested in pregnancy and women are reluctant to use them. Behavioural support alone has a modest effect on cessation rates; therefore, more effective interventions are needed. Even moderate intensity physical activity (e.g. brisk walk) reduces urges to smoke and there is some evidence it increases cessation rates in non-pregnant smokers. Two pilot studies assessed i) the feasibility of recruiting pregnant women to a trial of physical activity for smoking cessation, ii) adherence to physical activity and iii) womens' perceptions of the intervention. Methods: Pregnant smokers volunteered for an intervention combining smoking cessation support, physical activity counselling and supervised exercise (e.g. treadmill walking). The first study provided six weekly treatment sessions. The second study provided 15 sessions over eight weeks. Physical activity levels and continuous smoking abstinence (verified by expired carbon monoxide) were monitored up to eight months gestation. Results: Overall, 11.6% (32/277) of women recorded as smokers at their first antenatal booking visit were recruited. At eight months gestation 25% (8/32) of the women achieved continuous smoking abstinence. Abstinent women attended at least 85% of treatment sessions and 75% (6/8) achieved the target level of 110 minutes/week of physical activity at end-of-treatment. Increased physical activity was maintained at eight months gestation only in the second study. Women reported that the intervention helped weight management, reduced cigarette cravings and increased confidence for quitting. Conclusion: It is feasible to recruit pregnant smokers to a trial of physical activity for smoking cessation and this is likely to be popular. A large randomised controlled trial is needed to examine the efficacy of this intervention.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2008 Ussher et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Adolescent, Adult, Counseling, Exercise, Feasibility Studies, Female, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Patient Compliance, Patient Selection, Pregnancy, Prenatal Care, Questionnaires, Smoking, Smoking Cessation, Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Public, Environmental & Occupational Health, NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY, RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL, MATERNAL SMOKING, PLACENTAL ABRUPTION, DOUBLE-BLIND, SMOKERS, EXERCISE, WOMEN, POSTPARTUM, BEHAVIOR
SGUL Research Institute / Research Centre: Academic Structure > Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute (MCS)
Academic Structure > Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute (MCS) > Vascular (INCCVA)
Academic Structure > Population Health Research Institute (INPH)
Journal or Publication Title: BMC PUBLIC HEALTH
ISSN: 1471-2458
Related URLs:
23 September 2008Published
Web of Science ID: WOS:000259950600002
Download EPMC Full text (PDF)
Download EPMC Full text (HTML)
Publisher's version:

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item