Experts agree that one of the best things for the health of pregnant women, as well as for the health of the growing baby is for the woman, and those she lives with, to stop smoking.
Health professionals will do all they can to help you stop smoking. The team caring for you during pregnancy will always ask you about your tobacco use. This is to make sure that you are given the right information about the affects of smoking and offered support to stop.
It is important that you are honest with the team. They are there to help you not judge you.
The COVID-19 virus becomes serious when it attacks the lungs in some people. This makes smokers more at risk. Smoking also damages the immune system, reducing the body’s natural protection against infections. This means smokers are at greater risk of getting complications from coronavirus. The illness may last longer and be more serious than it would be for someone who does not smoke.
Pregnant women have been identified as a group who need to take extra care during the virus outbreak. Smoking / passive smoking may increase the risks. Stopping smoking is something you and your family can do to help keep you and your baby safe.
For more information listen to this Smokefree Norfolk podcast covering support in pregnancy.
There is a lot of information about how harmful smoking is to us all. We know it is also dangerous for unborn babies.
Smokefree Norfolk’s video helps you to understand more about why it is important to stop smoking during pregnancy.
Being Smoke Free
One of the best things you can do for the health of your growing family and yourself is to be ‘smoke free’. It is important that partners, family and friends understand that it is not just when the pregnant person smokes there is a risk to the unborn baby. All second hand smoke is dangerous.
Some of the serious risks to babies exposed to smoking in the womb are that they;
Stopping smoking is the best way to keep your baby healthy. *Click Here* to read more about the ways babies can be harmed.
Ideally you should quit smoking once you are planning a baby, or as soon you find out a baby is on the way to minimise the risk. If you haven’t already quit then stopping as soon as you can will still be the best decision for the health of your baby and for you!
If you are pregnant speak up for your baby to keep them safe and smoke free. Ask others not to smoke around you or in places where you spend time
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! You are four times more likely to stop successfully if you get help from a professional service.
If you, or a loved one, are pregnant you might feel worried that you will struggle to quit. You might feel guilty and judged for smoking – don’t let that put you off finding out more about quitting.
Health professionals know it can be tough to stop smoking. That is why there are free NHS Services to support you.
During pregnancy, you will be able to get support from a Quit Smoking Advisor. Your appointments can take place by phone. They can make sure that you can still access the free nicotine replacement therapies you are eligible for.
They can also discuss vaping if that is something you are thinking about. Whilst this is not as good as a complete ‘stop’ experts agree it is less harmful than smoking tobacco.
Carbon Monoxide Monitoring
Carbon Monixide (CO) is a harmful, poisonous gas. Breathing it in can make you unwell. If Carbon Monoxide is breathed in, it can enter your blood stream and mix with the haemoglobin – the part of your red blood cells which normally carry oxygen around your body. When this happens, the haemoglobin cannot take oxygen around your body anymore and cells and tissues begin to die.
During your antenatal appointments your midwife will usually ask to check the CO levels in your breath by asking you to blow into a machine which measures the levels of CO. Women who live by a busy road, or perhaps have a faulty gas appliance at home or whose partner smokes around them will have higher levels of CO in their breath. We also know that women who are smokers will have a higher reading of CO in their breath as Carbon Monoxide is present in cigarette smoke.
Knowing the levels of CO in your body will help the midwives to make a plan of support for you, if you are a smoker, your midwife will ask you at each appointment about this and will support you to reduce or quit smoking all together. There is a variety of support and resources available to help you.
Your midwife will continue to ask you about smoking and signpost you to services which can help. You will still be able to get support from a Quit Smoking advisor. Your appointments with them will take place by phone. You will still be able to access the free nicotine replacement therapies you are eligible for.
Support to Stop Smoking
Norfolk County Council have launched an incentives scheme to help pregnant women in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston quit smoking. They are offering specialist stop-smoking support and a series of Love2Shop vouchers to those who manage to give up smoking during pregnancy.
The scheme is available to those who are pregnant, smoke tobacco and live in Great Yarmouth or Gorleston (or who are registered with a GP practice in Great Yarmouth or Gorleston).
You can check whether your home address or your registered GP’s postcode comes under the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston area using this online postcode checker.
If you are eligible for the scheme and would like to quit smoking, please contact Smokefree Norfolk on 0800 085 4113 or fill in their contact us form.
Even if you are not eligible for the above scheme you can still get support to stop smoking.
If you feel worried and would like more advice you can speak to your midwife throughout your pregnancy and up to 28 days after the birth of your baby.
If you live in Norfolk
If you live in Suffolk
You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.