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"Why am I smoking when I know I'm harming the baby?" - unravelling the mysteries of prenatal smoking

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr James Kirkbride.

Smoking in pregnancy is one of the greatest avoidable risks for perinatal morbidity and mortality. Despite the knowledge that smoking in pregnancy is associated with harm, approximately three-quarters of female smokers continue to smoke after finding out they are pregnant. As a consequence, it is estimated that one in five pregnant women smoke during their pregnancies. Few studies have explored the reasons why so many pregnant women continue to smoke and why so few successfully quit. This talk will report on the findings from an in-depth qualitative study which set out to explore these issues. The findings highlight how pregnant smokers experience high levels of psychological tension as a result of discrepant beliefs about the potential harms of prenatal smoking and their smoking habit. Whether this tension is relieved psychologically, by endorsing beliefs which disengage them from the quitting process, or behaviourally, by stopping smoking, is affected by a number of potentially modifiable psychological and social factors.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Sciences Group series.

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