nurse talking to a patient

This research will explore how to support pregnant women with moderate to severe mental illness to stop smoking.

Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a stillbirth or miscarriage. Smoking during pregnancy is also linked to sudden infant death syndrome and babies being born with low birthweight, breathing problems, attention and hyperactivity disorders, learning disabilities, obesity, diabetes and becoming smokers themselves. As a result, smoking in pregnancy costs the NHS a lot of money and has big impact on the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies. The UK Government has set a target to reduce the numbers of women who still smoke when they give birth to 6% by 2022 (currently at 10%).

This work is being completed as part of Ellie Jones’ NIHR Postdoctoral Advanced Fellowship. Ellie will be exploring smoking cessation interventions for pregnant women with moderate to severe mental illness

Ellie's advisors are: Dr Beck Taylor, Professor Christine MacArthur and Professor Tim Coleman (University of Nottingham)

Aims of the project

This research will explore how to help pregnant women with moderate to severe mental illness to stop smoking. This research could help to reduce the number of stillbirths, miscarriages, sudden infant deaths and health problems linked to mothers who smoke.

Why is this research needed?

Pregnant women with mental illness are more likely to smoke than those who do not have mental illness. Pregnant women with moderate to severe mental illness are three to four times more likely to still be smoking when they give birth compared to those who do not suffer mental illness. Research in the general population shows that stopping smoking can also improve mental health. No research has been done to find out what helps pregnant women with mental illness to stop smoking.

Current projects

WP1 Intervention Development (Months 0-31)

WP1.1 Qualitative interviews guided by the Theoretical Domains Framework will explore influences on smoking behaviour according to pregnant smokers with MSMI and healthcare professionals. Data will be analysed deductively and inductively using the Framework Method. Findings will be mapped on the Capability, Opportunity and Motivation – Behaviour Model which will identify and prioritise behavioural influences which the smoking cessation intervention can target

WP1.2 A scoping review will identify and describe intervention components showing promise or effectiveness in supporting pregnant women/people with mental illness in smoking behaviour change for the target behaviours identified in WP1.1.

WP1.3 Co-design workshops with key stakeholders will be used to identify and adapt the content and delivery of an existing smoking cessation intervention for pregnant women with MSMI. Data from WP1.1 and 1.2 will guide discussions on existing interventions in addition to the APEASE criteria. 

WP2 Feasibility trial (months 32-55)

A feasibility trial will determine acceptability and feasibility of the smoking cessation intervention for pregnant women with MSMI and randomised controlled trial (RCT) procedures.

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