Ultrasound feedback and motivational interviewing targeting smoking cessation in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy

Publication Date



Nicotine Tob Res. 2009 August; 11(8): 961–968.


INTRODUCTION: Cigarette smoking during pregnancy is associated with poor maternal and child health outcomes. Effective interventions to increase smoking cessation rates are needed particularly for pregnant women unable to quit in their first trimester. Real-time ultrasound feedback focused on potential effects of smoking on the fetus may be an effective treatment adjunct, improving smoking outcomes.

METHODS: A prospective randomized trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of a smoking cessation intervention consisting of personalized feedback during ultrasound plus motivational interviewing-based counseling sessions. Pregnant smokers (N = 360) between 16 and 26 weeks of gestation were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Best Practice (BP) only, Best Practice plus ultrasound feedback (BP+US), or Motivational Interviewing-based counseling plus ultrasound feedback (MI+US). Assessments were conducted at baseline and end of pregnancy (EOP).

RESULTS: Analyses of cotinine-verified self-reported smoking status at EOP indicated that 10.8% of the BP group was not smoking at EOP; 14.2% in the BP+US condition and 18.3% who received MI+US were abstinent, but differences were not statistically significant. Intervention effects were found conditional upon level of baseline smoking, however. Nearly 34% of light smokers (< or =10 cigarettes/day) in the MI+US condition were abstinent at EOP, followed by 25.8% and 15.6% in the BP+US and BP conditions, respectively. Heavy smokers (>10 cigarettes/day) were notably unaffected by the intervention.

DISCUSSION: Future research should confirm benefit of motivational interviewing plus ultrasound feedback for pregnant light smokers and explore mechanisms of action. Innovative interventions for pregnant women smoking at high levels are sorely needed.


Feedback, Female, Humans, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, Second, Pregnancy Trimester, Third, Prospective Studies, Smoking Cessation, Ultrasonography, Prenatal