Does the Use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy During Pregnancy Affect Pregnancy Outcomes?

  • Kimberly H. GaitherEmail author
  • Larissa R. Brunner Huber
  • Michael E. Thompson
  • Yvette M. Huet-Hudson


Objectives Although nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) may assist with smoking cessation, little is known about the safety of NRT use during pregnancy. Our purpose was two-fold: to determine characteristics of women prescribed or recommended NRT during pregnancy and to investigate whether NRT prescription/recommendation was associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes using data from the 2004 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. Methods Smoking and NRT referral was self-reported by 5,716 women. Information on pregnancy outcomes was obtained from birth certificates. Multivariate logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results Smokers <35 years of age and of Hispanic, Non-Hispanic Black, and Asian/Pacific Islander race/ethnicity were less likely to be prescribed or recommended NRT during pregnancy. After adjustment for age, marital status, education, and race/ethnicity, women recommended NRT had twice the risk of low birthweight as compared to nonsmokers (OR = 1.95, 95% CI: 1.10, 3.46) while smokers had 1.31 times the risk of low birthweight (95% CI: 0.92, 1.87). Results for preterm birth were similar after adjustment for the same confounding variables (NRT: OR = 2.04, 95% CI: 1.14, 3.63 and smoking: OR = 1.09, 95% CI: 0.74, 1.61). Conclusions Risks of low birthweight and preterm birth were highest for women prescribed or recommended NRT. These findings may be related to frequency of maternal smoking. While heavier smokers may be more likely to be recommended NRT, they also may have the most difficulty with cessation. Greater efforts should be made to ensure that these women do successfully cease smoking.


NRT  Maternal smoking Adverse pregnancy outcomes Smoking cessation 



The authors thank Denise D’Angelo, the CDC PRAMS research proposal coordinator, the PRAMS Working Group: Alabama – Albert Woolbright, PhD; Alaska – Kathy Perham-Hester, MS, MPH; Arkansas – Mary McGehee, PhD; Colorado – Alyson Shupe, PhD; Delaware – Charlon Kroelinger, PhD; Florida – Jamie Fairclough, MPH; Georgia – Carol Hoban, MS, MPH; Hawaii – Sharon Sirling; Illinois – Theresa Sandidge, MA; Louisiana – Joan Wightkin; Maine – Kim Haggan; Maryland – Diana Cheng, MD; Massachusetts – Hafsatou Diop, MD, MPH; Michigan – Violanda Grigorescu, MD, MSPH; Minnesota – Jan Jernell; Mississippi – Vernesia Wilson, MPH; Missouri – Venkata Garikapaty, MSc, MS, PhD, MPH; Montana – JoAnn Dotson; Nebraska – Jennifer Severe-Oforah; New Jersey – Lakota Kruse, MD; New Mexico – Eirian Coronado; New York State – Anne Radigan-Garcia; New York City – Candace Mulready-Ward, MPH; North Carolina – Paul Buescher, PhD; North Dakota – Sandra Anseth; Ohio – Lily Tatham; Oklahoma – Dick Lorenz; Oregon – Kenneth Rosenberg, MD; Pennsylvania – Kenneth Huling; Rhode Island – Sam Viner-Brown, PhD; South Carolina – Jim Ferguson, DrPH; South Dakota – Christine Rinki, MPH; Texas – Eric Miller, PhD; Tennessee – David Law, PhD; Utah – Laurie Baksh; Vermont – Peggy Brozicevic; Virginia – Michelle White; Washington – Linda Lohdefinck; West Virginia – Melissa Baker, MA; Wisconsin – Katherine Kvale, PhD; Wyoming – Angi Crotsenberg; as well as the CDC PRAMS Team, Applied Sciences Branch, Division of Reproductive Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberly H. Gaither
    • 1
    Email author
  • Larissa R. Brunner Huber
    • 1
  • Michael E. Thompson
    • 1
  • Yvette M. Huet-Hudson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Public Health SciencesThe University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyThe University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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