Introduction Smoking is the leading cause of premature mortality and Russia is among the countries with the highest prevalence of smoking. Pregnancy is considered as a good time-point for smoking cessation and midwifes can play an important role in this process. However, it is generally unknown how prevalent is smoking among midwifes in Russia. The aim is to assess the prevalence of and attitudes towards smoking among midwifes in Northwest Russia.
Methods A questionnaire on smoking and attitudes was sent to all 83 midwifes in the city of Arkhangelsk and 72% of them responded. All data were analysed using χ2 tests.
Results The prevalence of smoking among midwifes was 43.5%. Eighty-five percent of midwifes considered that it is necessary to implement antismoking program in antenatal clinics. Most midwifes (72.6%) did not agree that nurses should be involved in smoking prevention program for pregnant women. Only 17% of smokers counselled women on smoking cessation while among non-smokers this proportion was 52.0% (p=0.024). Surprisingly, 67.0% of midwifes stated that it might be harmful to immediately quit smoking during pregnancy. Midwifes reflected lack of knowledge to counsel pregnant women about tobacco. Many could not list main negative effects of smoking. Only 35.1% of midwifes mentioned that smoking during pregnancy can cause fetoplacental insufficiency, 24.6% named low birth weight and 5.0% mentioned miscarriage, intrauterine infections and lung diseases in infants.
Conclusions A high proportion of midwifes are smokers themselves and many are poorly informed about effects of smoking.
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