OBJECTIVES: Financial incentives are recommended by the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to aid smoking cessation in pregnancy. However, little is known about how implementation contexts might impact on their effectiveness. Variations in smoking cessation support (usual care) for pregnant women who smoke were examined qualitatively as part of a prospective process evaluation of the Cessation in Pregnancy Incentives Trial (CPIT III).
DESIGN: Longitudinal case studies of five CPIT III trial sites informed by realist evaluation.
SETTING: A stop smoking service (SSS) serving a maternity hospital constituted each case study, located in three UK countries.
PARTICIPANTS: Data collection included semistructured interviews with trial participants (n=22), maternity (n=12) and SSS staff (n=17); and site observations and perspectives recorded in fieldnotes (n=85).
RESULTS: Cessation support (usual care) for pregnant women varied in amount, location, staff capacity, flexibility and content across sites. SSS staff capacity was important to avoid gaps in support. Colocation and good working relationships between maternity and SSS professionals enabled prioritisation and reinforced the importance of smoking cessation. Sites with limited use of carbon monoxide (CO) monitoring reduced opportunities to identify smokers while inconsistency around automatic referral processes prevented the offer of cessation support. SSS professionals colocated within antenatal clinics were available to women they could not otherwise reach. Flexibility around location, timing and tailoring of approaches for support, facilitated initial and sustained engagement and reduced the burden on women.
CONCLUSIONS: Trial sites faced varied barriers and facilitators to delivering cessation support, reflecting heterogeneity in usual care. If financial incentives are more effective with concurrent smoking cessation support, sites with fewer barriers and more facilitators regarding this support would be expected to have more promising trial outcomes. Future reporting of trial outcomes will assist in understanding incentives' generalisability across a wide range of usual care settings. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN15236311.
- maternal medicine
- public health
- qualitative research