In July expectant mums who are currently using the Barnsley Stop Smoking Service to quit smoking came together to celebrate the achievements they’ve had so far and share their experiences with other mums.
Barnsley’s specialist stop smoking service offers stop smoking support to pregnant women at the Quit Shop on Eldon Street in Barnsley city centre. They support mums throughout their pregnancy and after the birth to continue smoke free and can offer support to their partners if they would also like to quit. Over the past 12 months the service has supported 100 women to quit!
Why is it important to stop smoking when you are pregnant?
If you smoke while you are pregnant then your baby will be sharing the chemicals from the smoke you breathe, as well as the dangerous chemicals in other people’s smoke – secondhand smoke – if your partner or other family members in the household smoke.
The effects on your baby during pregnancy
- When you smoke you inhale over 4,000 chemicals from the cigarette. One of these is a dangerous chemical called carbon monoxide, which gets into your bloodstream.
- This restricts the oxygen that’s essential for your baby’s healthy growth and development, and because cigarettes restrict their oxygen supply, their tiny heart has to beat harder every time you smoke.
- Smoking during pregnancy can damage your baby’s airways before it is born.
- If you smoke during pregnancy your child may develop smaller airways, making them more vulnerable to breathing problems such as asthma.
- Research has shown airflow through the breathing tubes is on average 20% lower in babies born to mothers who smoke.
- On average, smokers have more complications during pregnancy and labour. This can include bleeding during pregnancy and placental abruption.
- Women who stop smoking during the first three months of pregnancy have a lower rate of placental abruption and a lower rate of placenta praevia compared to continuing smokers.
- Smokers are five times more likely to develop eclampsia which is a major cause of maternal mortality in the UK.
- When a pregnant woman smokes, some of the oxygen in her blood is replaced by carbon monoxide, restricting the supply of oxygen to the baby, which can affect the baby’s growth.
- Smokers are more likely to deliver babies prematurely and at a much lower birth weight.
Stephanie and Jade, two mums who have used the service to help them quit and attended the celebration, happily shared their thoughts. Stephanie explained, “I used the stop smoking service before, when I had my second child, however I started smoking again after he was 7 months old. This time I am more motivated to quit for good as I want to give up smoking, rather than just quitting because I’ve been told I should.
“I really like that the quit shop is a family friendly environment and am happy to bring my children along to the sessions, which means I can come regularly to see Laura, the dedicated stop smoking in pregnancy advisor. I have now been smoke free for 14 weeks and am confident that this will continue until my baby is born, and after. I used patches at the beginning of my quit attempt, however now I am doing it by myself.
“I think it’s important that the service highlights to pregnant women that they will receive stop smoking support for the duration of their pregnancy, rather than just the normal 12 week programme offered. You have a lot to think about and deal with when you are pregnant and after giving birth so knowing that your stop smoking advisor is still there to help you is really important.
“I am determined to remain smoke free after I have given birth to my baby. I think text messages and contact from the service would be helpful a couple of weeks after birth, as this is the time when you start to get into a routine and it can be easy to add smoking to this.”
Laura Dixon, the stop smoking in pregnancy advisor who has worked with both Stephanie and Jade in their quit attempts explained, “Our service offers dedicated support to pregnant women who would like to stop smoking before their baby is born. Some women get in touch after seeing our leaflets or our facebook page but everyone who sees a midwife in Barnsley and smokes is referred to our team for support to quit.
“If you join us, you will see the same advisor every time, who can offer you nicotine replacement therapies and tools to help you quit and stay motivated to quit.
“The free nicotine replacement therapies are available to mums throughout their pregnancies. Members of their family and dads can also get four weeks of free nicotine replacement therapies if they are making a quit attempt with their partner. Those who successfully quit smoking for four weeks are also eligible for a free, 12 week gym pass, which includes swimming – an activity that a lot of our pregnant mums really enjoy.
“Stop smoking now and both you and your baby will get the benefits immediately. The carbon monoxide and other chemicals quickly leave your body. It means there’s more oxygen in your blood, making you and your baby much healthier.
“You’re up to four times more likely to quit smoking successfully with NHS support. So call us on 01226 737077 to find out more or visit the Quit shop,12-14 Eldon Street, Barnsley city centre.”
Find out more about the support available from the Barnsley stop smoking service by visiting their facebook page