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Group Prevents Smoking During Pregnancy

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EUGENE, Ore. — A local health care group is pushing to get women to stop smoking during pregnancy.

Trillium Community Health Plan invested $180,000 to start a prevention initiative to cut down on the number of pregnant women smoking during pregnancy, and they’re offering monetary incentives to women who quit. To do this, the health care group is joining forces with a community advisory council.

“I’ve delivered over 400 babies in my previous career,” said Dr. Holly Jo Hodges, Medical Director.

Dr. Hodges has seen firsthand the effects smoking during pregnancy has on babies.

“Up to 5 percent of stillborn births can be related to smoking in pregnancy–10 percent of pre-term deliveries and up to 30 percent of low birthweight babies,” Hodges said.

But women smoking during pregnancy can also have long-term effects on children, Hodges said, including increased risk of asthma, ear infections, and even earlier development of lung cancer even if they themselves don’t smoke.

So just how many women in Lane County are lighting up during pregnancy?

“In a recent chart review, 35-40 percent of pregnant women were found to be smoking during their pregnancy,” Hodges said.

“I was extremely surprised, along with everyone else in our group, we said we’ve got to work on this, there’s got to be something we can do as a community voice to work on this effort,” said Tara Davee, Community Advisory Council.

Dr. Hodges estimates 400 OHP patients smoke while pregnant. So Trillium Community Health Plan’s setting up an incentive program to help simmer the amount of women smoking while pregnant.

“Women are very motivated to change their behavior because they, of course, want what’s best for baby and the best outcomes, so this is a really golden opportunity to intervene,” Hodges said.

“Incentives work,” Davee said.

Trilliam is in the final stages of coming up with the incentives for the program. It expects the program to be up and running by July 1 for any Oregon Health Plan patients.

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