Healthy Communities “Baby and Me Tobacco Free” program helped a local mother, Kelli Weatherford to quit smoking. Weatherford had enrolled in the program after she found out she was pregnant and became the first woman to deliver after completing the program. Weatherford said the pregnancy was great incentive to quit smoking. Director Carol Price said, “The goal of the program is to reduce premature labor, premature births and low birth weight babies associated with smoking. If babies are born premature or low birth weight their lungs are not developed, so their chances of dying from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is more likely. So there are lots of reasons to not smoke.” The Baby and Me program is made possible by a grant from the Indiana State Department of Health and Healthy Communities was one of eight organizations in the state to be funded. The program consists of four classes where mothers are taught how to handle triggers and cravings to smoke. Mothers are then tested to make sure nicotine levels are negative. Monica Shaughnessy, the program facilitator, develops strong relationships with the mothers as she helps them towards quitting. Healthy Communities keeps in contact with the mothers for the duration of the class and the birth. If mothers have negative nicotine levels after the birth they receive a monthly $25 voucher for diapers for one year. According to Price a lot of moms will quit smoking during pregnancy, but resume after the birth. So the incentive of free diapers helps reduce smoking after delivery. Weatherford said the temptation to keep smoking was there, but having someone to talk to about it helped a lot. The biggest incentive to stop smoking for Weatherford was her daughter; “Anything that goes into you would go into her and I just couldn’t do that.” The birth of a healthy baby girl also inspired Weatherford’s husband to quit; “If she can do it, I should be able to do it,” he said.
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