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Support for pregnant smokers

04 March 2011

The antenatal and Help2Quit service will be launching a new service to support pregnant women to quit smoking on 9 March, which is national No Smoking Day.

On 9 March, the team will be available to speak to pregnant women in the main reception area of the hospital’s outpatient department between 10.30am and 2.30pm.

The new service is based on a non-judgmental approach that recognises the individual’s smoking and quitting motivators. To develop the service, health teams have got together with local women to better understand the challenges of smoking in pregnancy. 

New materials have been developed that include case studies based on local pregnant women’s experience of stopping smoking. A clear care pathway has also been developed to support consistent approaches by health care teams, as well as new records to improve communication on progress.

It is estimated approximately 16% (roughly 160 pregnant women) smoke at some point during their pregnancy. In the past few years, women have taken up the offer of specialist cessation support. Figures show only 22 women were seen in 2009.

Elaine Torrance, head of maternity, said “Smoking in pregnancy carries many risks to both the mother and baby. We wanted to be able to better support these women to use the local Help2Quit service and to stop smoking. We know that if women take up the offer of support from the specialist nurse advisors that they are up to 4 times more likely to succeed in stopping smoking.

“Smoking in pregnancy is a sensitive subject. Many people might consider pregnancy a perfect motivation to quit smoking but the role of nicotine addiction, experiences of smoking and the emotions of pregnancy can make quitting during pregnancy very difficult."

Andrew Heaven, head of health improvement, added “We have worked hard to understand women’s own experience of smoking and their attitudes to quitting during pregnancy. Findings from telephone interviews and focus groups with pregnant women have given us some good insights that have helped us develop the services and support offered.”
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