Women who smoke during pregnancy are afraid to ask for support online, according to a recent study.
University of Queensland researcher Britta Wigginton looked at the online experience of pregnant smokers. She found that the majority were unwilling to post about their smoking on online forums.
The report highlighted a need for a safe and supportive online space for women to discuss quitting smoking while pregnant.
The Bub Hub has responded to this research by creating a Quit Smoking Support Section on our forum specifically for people who want to quit smoking. It is a place for support and encouragement – free from judgement or criticism. The Bub Hub has a wonderful team of volunteer moderators to help ensure it stays this way.
The research paper – Online conversations about smoking in pregnancy: An online survey of women’s experiences – found three main reasons that women did not discuss questions, issues or concerns about smoking during pregnancy online.
- Fear of judgement or backlash
- Shame and embarrassment about smoking in pregnancy
- The topic was never raised by others
Many of the respondents said they had read negative and judgemental posts from other women online. They talked about ‘keyboard warriors’ who ‘verbally bashed women who smoked’.
The few respondents who reported positive experiences said it came from within forum threads specifically about ‘seeking support’. In such threads they felt they would be less likely to be judged negatively and they were more comfortable discussing their own smoking.
The report concluded that it was important for pregnant women to be able to disclose, or ask questions about, smoking (e.g. tips for reducing or quitting) in order to help them in their journey towards cessation.
It made following recommendations for pregnancy forums:
- Create threads specifically designed for discussions about quitting and reducing smoking in pregnancy to give women an opportunity to share advice and tips on reducing smoking and managing cravings.
- Give women options online to report an inappropriate post or to alert forum moderators to offensive comments.
You can read more about the research paper here – Online conversations about smoking in pregnancy: An online survey of women’s experiences. And if you’d like support during your quitting journey please visit the Quit Smoking Support Section on our forum.