Postpartum changes in mood and smoking-related symptomatology: An ecological momentary assessment investigation

Alicia Allen, Nicole Tosun, Samantha Carlson, Sharon Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: Postpartum smoking relapse is a highly prevalent public health problem. Mood and breast feeding are significantly associated with smoking relapse, although less is known about the temporality of these relationships. Therefore, this study utilized ecological momentary assessments (EMA) to prospectively examine changes in mood and smoking-related symptomatology in relationship to three events-childbirth, termination of breast feeding, and smoking relapse. We expected all three events to significantly alter mood and smoking-related symptomatology. Methods: We enrolled a sample of pregnant women who had recently quit smoking and intended to remain quit during the postpartum. Participants were randomized to active/placebo progesterone to prevent postpartum relapse. Participants also completed daily EMA to collect data mood and smoking-related symptomatology as well as our three events of interest. Results: Participants (n = 46) were, on average, 26.5 ± 0.8 years old and, prior to pregnancy, smoked 10.1 ± 0.7 cigarettes/day. We noted a number of significant within- and between-subject relationships. For example, participants reported a 24% decline in negative affect after childbirth (p = .0016). Among those who relapsed to smoking (n = 23), participants randomized to placebo had a significant increase in cigarette craving after relapse (β = 1.06, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.62 to 1.49, p value = .0003), whereas participants randomized to active progesterone did not (β = 0.63, 95% CI = -0.35 to 1.62, p value = .1824). Conclusions: These observations suggest that mood and smoking-related symptomatology are influenced by childbirth, breast feeding, smoking relapse, and use of exogenous progesterone. Future research should explore how these observations may inform novel postpartum smoking relapse-prevention interventions. Implications: Postpartum smoking relapse has been a persistent public health problem for more than 40 years. Although a number of significant predictors of postpartum smoking relapse have been identified (eg, depression and breast feeding), much of these analyses have relied on crosssectional and/or self-reported retrospective data. Therefore, for the first time, we utilized ecological momentary assessment to explore the effect of childbirth, termination of breast feeding, and smoking relapse on mood and smoking-related symptomatology (eg, craving). Numerous significant relationships were observed, including a 96% increase in craving after smoking relapse. These novel observations can inform new and effective postpartum smoking relapseprevention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-689
Number of pages9
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 3 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this project was provided by the National Institutes of Health (R21DA034840) and the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Grant (K12HD055887; A. Allen) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the Office of Research on Women’s Health, and the National Institute on Aging, NIH, administered by the University of Minnesota Deborah E. Powell Center for Women’s Health. Support also provided by Research Services, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Medical School, University of Minnesota (S. Carlson), as well as the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award Number UL1TR000114.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. All rights reserved.


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