- BACKGROUND: A substantial number of women smoke while pregnant. The majority of those who quit return to smoking within 12 months. The aim of this study is to estimate smoking rates and to measure the urge to smoke and the motivation to change smoking behavior among women who recently delivered. METHODS: Data presented stem from two studies. Study 1 is an epidemiological survey investigating the health of neonates. Study 2 presents screening data of an efficacy trial for a smoking cessation and relapse prevention intervention. Participants were recruited on maternity wards within 7 days after delivery. RESULTS: Five hundred fifty-three (29.1%) women were never smokers, 145 (7.6%) were former smokers, 492 (25.9%) abstained during pregnancy, and 712 (37.4%) smoked throughout pregnancy. Of the smokers, 69% did not intend to quit smoking within the next 6 months. Of the women who quit during pregnancy, 80% did not want to resume smoking within the next 6 months or after weaning. CONCLUSIONS: Smoking and relapse rates indicate a need for increased efforts to reduce smoking during pregnancy and postpartum. Reported intention to quit or resume does not reflect the high number of relapses. Indicators for relapse need to be found.