Tamara Ogburn wanted to do was quit. In her case, however, that was a difficult
task – because what she wanted to quit was cigarettes.
wasn’t a new dream. The mother of four boys, Ogburn had dreams of quitting at
other points in her life, including during each of her pregnancies. However,
the habit – begun when she was seven years old – proved too strong a force to
overcome. That is, until Ogburn became pregnant with her fifth child.
finally decided enough was enough.
time, it clicked. I decided that my kids deserve this, and I deserve this,” she
says of her desire to quit. “I just knew I had to be a better role model.”
Ogburn made that decision, she found support through Cox Medical Center
Branson’s “Baby & Me – Tobacco Free” class. The program became a reality in
2016 thanks to a grant from the March of Dimes, which provided funding for
training and supplies.
organization’s efforts – which include preventing birth defects, premature
birth, and infant mortality – support reducing tobacco usage. After all, taking
the drug during pregnancy ties to lower birth weights, preterm labor, and
higher rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
born to tobacco-using moms often spend a lot of time in the NICU, and the
majority don’t graduate without some difficulty because of tobacco,” says nurse
Melanie Lavoi, who leads the “Baby & Me” sessions at Cox Branson.
typically attend four “Baby & Me” sessions while they’re pregnant. Then,
after the baby is born, participants come back once a month to ensure they’re
staying tobacco free via a breathalyzer test.
addition to the health-related benefits, the program also offers a financial
incentive: Thanks to a grant from the Ozarks Health Advocacy Foundation, for
every month that participants stay tobacco free, they earn a $25 voucher for
diapers at Walmart. “And that helps out a lot,” says Ogburn.
the financial reward is only one aspect of the process.
have to make the decision to quit before you come to the class,” says Lavoi.
“What we primarily work through are triggers, or barriers, that might hurt a
mom’s chances of staying smoke free.”
of those triggers might be environmental, such as other family members who
smoke in the same home. That’s why the program isn’t only open to moms: If
another adult smokes and lives in the same house, they are eligible to
participate as well – netting $50 in free diapers each month.
the challenge, giving up tobacco has been completely worth it for Ogburn. “I
just had to keep telling myself that this is what I want,” she says. “My kids
are so proud of me. That is the main reason I wanted to quit. I want to be
around for my kids as long as I can, and to be healthy. They’re worth it.”
more information about the program, please call 417-348-8313 to reach The
Women’s Center at Cox Branson.