Pregnant women may now join GIFTS (Giving Infants and Families Tobacco free Starts), a smoking cessation program designed with pregnant women in mind.
The program was developed through a collaborative effort from the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program. Its goal is to reduce smoking during pregnancy to lead to the reduction of low birth weights and preterm births as well as perinatal deaths.
In Letcher County in 2006, 37.8 percent of women who were pregnant smoked during pregnancy. Research shows that smoking during pregnancy causes health problems for babies such as premature birth, respiratory problems, stillbirths, and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Maternal complications can include premature rupture of membranes, preeclampsia, placenta previa or abruption, strokes, and heart attacks.
To participate in the GIFTS program, women must be receiving services from the Letcher County Health Department. For more information, contact Valerie McIntosh at 633- 2945.