Introduction: SMS text messaging is increasingly used for delivering smoking cessation support and pilot studies suggest this may also be useful in pregnancy. This study explores the views of women who received a tailored text messaging cessation intervention (MiQuit) during pregnancy, focusing on acceptability, perceived impact, and suggestions for improvements.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 15 purposively sampled women who had received the MiQuit intervention during pregnancy as part of a randomized controlled trial. Data were analyzed thematically.
Results: Three main themes were identified: "impact", "approach," and "optimization." Participants described an immediate, yet often short-lived, impact from the texts that distracted and delayed them from smoking and they perceived that texts focusing on the development of and risk to the baby generated more enduring emotional impacts. Most women found receiving support by text preferable to face-to-face cessation support, with participants citing the greater regularity, convenience, and non-judgmental style as particular advantages. Participants would have preferred a longer support program with increased tailoring, greater customization of text timings and consideration of cutting down as an alternative/precursor to quitting.
Conclusion: Pregnancy-specific cessation support by text message was well received and participants considered the support increased their motivation to stop smoking. The focus on the developing baby, the regularity of contact and the provision of gentle, encouraging messages were highlighted as particularly important elements of the program.
Implications: This study adds further evidence to the acceptability and perceived positive impact of text-messaging programs in aiding smoking cessation in pregnancy. The findings indicate that for some women, this type of support is preferable to face-to-face methods and could be utilized by health professionals, either in addition to current methods or as an alternative. This study is also relevant to researchers developing health-related text programs to consider participants' desire for greater tailoring. Further research is required into adapting and continuing text support for women postpartum.