Health professionals at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust are on hand to help pregnant women in Lancashire quit smoking!
The Quit Squad at the Trust is helping and encouraging women to stop smoking whilst they are pregnant to protect themselves and their unborn baby from the harmful chemicals they are exposed to when smoking. Smoking whilst pregnant can restrict oxygen supply to unborn babies, so their heart has to beat harder every time mum smokes.
Joanna, 26 from Accrington quit smoking when she found out she was pregnant, she said:
"I have been smoking since I was about 15 and in the middle of high school, quitting hadn"t ever been a priority for me, I enjoyed smoking. I found out I was pregnant at the end of last year and referred myself to the Quit Squad at the beginning of January. People often said to me 'oh it"s easy for you, you are pregnant so you have to stop" but I didn"t see it like that. My decision to stop was made for me; I knew smoking whilst being pregnant was extremely dangerous and I didn"t want to harm my baby so I was never going to smoke whilst pregnant, but I still had the cravings and found it a daily battle. I tried a number of nicotine replacement products such as the patches but decided that, that wasn"t the route for me so I stopped the medication and just attended the 1:1 support sessions instead. Everyone was so encouraging and friendly, I felt they really understood me and it helped me to talk through my feelings about still missing smoking and battling with that whilst knowing I couldn"t.
"My mum quit with me, I really struggled with will power so she was my rock, I knew I had to stop for my baby so we supported and encouraged each other. My mum had been smoking for nearly 50 years before she quit with the help of the team at the Trust and she"s doing brilliantly.
"Since stopping I"ve definitely noticed my health improving, doing the smallest things is easier like going for walks and I have more energy! I"m starting back at the gym soon too which will be hard, but knowing I"m now leading a healthier life will help. I"ve noticed I"m eating healthier foods now I"m no longer smoking and I think it has to do with the fact I"m not putting all those chemicals into my body so it encourages me to have a healthier diet.
I wouldn"t ever go back to smoking but I still miss it, I have learnt of ways to cope and now my baby is 6 weeks old I"m too busy to smoke so it"s a great distraction really! I can"t thank the team enough for their support, it was invaluable."
Julie Trezise, Stop Smoking Service Manager at the Quit Squad said:
"What Joanna has achieved is excellent, it takes a lot of will power and effort to quit smoking and someone who has made that decision can prepare for that but she didn"t have time for that and still succeeded. Joanna knew that smoking whilst pregnant puts both baby and mum at risk, but other mums don"t. We aim to educate anyone who smokes about the dangers of it and support them to quit by working together to find something that suits them. I would like to encourage anyone who is thinking about stopping smoking, to contact us even if it"s for an informal chat."
The Quit Squad provide help and support for men and women in East and Central Lancashire to stop smoking. To contact the team you can freephone 0800 328 6297 or call 01254 283370 or 01772 644474. You can also complete the online self-referral form on their website at www.quitsquad.nhs.uk