Quit for Baby of the Wabash Valley is a partnership between the Union Hospital Family Medicine Center (FMC), Valley-Professionals Community Health Center (VPCHC), and the Richard G Lugar Center for Rural Health (Lugar Center) to serve smoking pregnant women. Baby & Me – Tobacco Free program (BMTF) was implemented in 2013. BMTF is a multi-pronged intervention linking cessation counseling and biomarker feedback, utilizing Carbon Monoxide monitoring during the prenatal and postpartum periods. Participants who quit and stay tobacco-free become eligible for incentive vouchers towards free diapers. BMTF promotes equity in birth outcomes by providing smoking cessation education/services to pregnant and postpartum women. Quit for Baby of the Wabash Valley at FMC was implemented under the tutelage and in partnership with Ms. Laurie Adams, National Executive Director and creator of the BMTF program. FMC was the first site in the state of Indiana to award a pregnant mother a voucher for diapers. The site was also the first in the nation to award a voucher to a father.
Ms. Carrie Evans, Tobacco Cessation Counselor, works closely with the medical staff at FMC and educates them on the best practices in Smoking Cessation, while also collaborating with 2 social workers dedicated to working with pregnant patients. Aside from the BMTF program they help expectant moms sign up for Medicaid, and connect them with community resources such as WIC and Healthy Families.
If qualified, meaning the pregnant mother smokes, enrollees meet with the program coordinator four times before delivery and twelve times post-partum. Through a series of carbon monoxide testing and or saliva tests to show a decrease in tobacco use the program coordinator can determine if the enrollee has in fact reduced their tobacco consumption. If a reduction has occurred the enrollee qualifies for a diaper voucher that can be used at a nationwide retail chain to purchase diapers (and only diapers).
When Quit for Baby of the Wabash Valley began operating at the FMC the percentage of pregnant women who smoke in Clay county was 22.3%; Parke is 16.7%; Vermillion is 26.2%; and Vigo is 21.3%. The program continues to operate and produce outstanding results.
Since 2013, Quit for Baby of the Wabash Valley has awarded over 600 vouchers to participants and their partners. From 2013-2016 the program enrolled over 300 women and their partners in the program. The average birth weight of the data that was collected for those in the program was 7.4 lbs., which outperforms the low birthweight threshold of 5.5 lbs. by a wide margin. Only 5.8 percent of the babies in the BMTF birth outcomes data set were born with low birthweight. For context if Indiana’s low birthweight percentage was 5.8 instead of what it currently is at 8.0 Indiana would tie Alaska for best in the nation according to America’s Health Ranking (Indiana currently ranks 25th).
Demographic data collected through the program show that the BMTF program at the FMC has targeted the population in Indiana that is the largest socioeconomically those who make $15,000 or less and by level of education, attaining a high school degree or GED. This is a critical part of the success of the program. The program also shows that if individuals enroll in the program and began tobacco cessation individuals can positively increase their birth outcomes regarding birth weight and gestational age compared to those who smoke throughout their pregnancy.