Health leaders are encouraging pregnant women in Hull to take their first steps to stopping smoking following the release of figures stating almost 21% of pregnant women in the city smoke*.
Smoking during pregnancy not only increases mothers’ risk of cancer and related health issues, but can also have a huge effect on the health of the unborn child, including the child potentially suffering with asthma for life, increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth or complications at and after birth.
Caroline Clark, Healthy Lifestyles Midwife, Hull Women and Children’s Hospital said:
“We understand that the idea of stopping smoking can be hard to face for some women; being pregnant can be difficult enough in itself! But it is important to know that smoking can have a long term impact on a baby’s health and development, as well as the health of its mother.”
“The rate of maternal smoking in Hull is high; we need to better understand why women continue to smoke through pregnancy. We must factor these reasons in to the support we offer and the services we commission to help them.”
“If we understand what works for people we have a better chance of engaging women whilst continuing to inform the whole family around the dangers of smoking”
Already in Hull pregnant women are asked to take part in ongoing carbon monoxide monitoring (CO) through their pregnancy at antenatal appointments, with plans for this to also happen at GP surgeries and in the community as part of a 2017 pilot.
“We want to see every baby given the best possible start in life, reducing exposure to cigarette smoke is the single most important thing a woman can do for her baby.”
Locally, pregnant women can access one to one support and advice through Smokefree Hull, which is run by City Health Care Partnership CIC, with appointments and programmes tailored to their individual needs and in locations to suit them.
Wendy Samuels from Smokefree Hull said:
“We know it can be really tough to quit when you are pregnant and our specialist advisors understand the pressures and the extremely addictive nature of smoking which makes it hard for pregnant women to stop smoking.”
“Our team work individually with pregnant women and their families during pregnancy as quitting with or without Nicotine Replacement Therapy at any stage is the best thing they can do.”
Finally, Cllr Gwen Lunn, portfolio holder for Public Health, added:
“Taking the decision to stop smoking when you fall pregnant or are trying for a baby is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your child, but health professionals understand that it is also very difficult.”
“This campaign is about understanding the barriers to quitting and how we can best support women when they do decide to stop.”
Pregnant women struggling to give up smoking are advised to speak to their midwife for support, text ‘Steps’ to 61825 for further information from Smokefree Hull, or visit www.readytostopsmoking.co.uk for more information.