[Prevalence of smoking in women before and during pregnancy: population-based data].
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Population-based data on smoking behavior in Germany of women before or during pregnancy have been lacking. Smoking rates of these women have now been recorded over a period of 3 years against the background of growing tobacco control activities in Germany. METHODS: The study was conducted between 4/2003 and 3/2006 in the context of a prospective population-based survey about perinatal morbidity and mortality (Survey of Neonates in Pomerania - SNiP). This survey registers all newborns and their mothers in one defined region. Of the women eligible for the study 2 297 (68.1%) participated after delivery by giving data about their smoking behavior before and during pregnancy. RESULTS: 61.2% of the women had smoked at some time, 46.6% had smoked before, 24.2% into the 4. month and 20.5% into the last 4 weeks of pregnancy. Smoking rates remained unchanged over the 3 years that were studied. The rates of smokers who had quit by the time of delivery varied according to the length of school education: (<10 years: 30%; 10 y: 59%; >10 y: 84%) and age (<24 years: 45%; 25-30 y: 65%; >30 y: 77%). CONCLUSION: This study for the first time provides population-based data about the prevalence of smoking before and during pregnancy among women in Germany. The data show extremely high numbers of smokers, especially younger women and women of only 10 years or less of school education. Despite growing tobacco control activities no changes in smoking rates were observed over three years. These findings underline the need to develop effective interventions to prevent smoking of women before and during pregnancy.
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