Smoking when pregnant is harmful to babies and restricts essential oxygen supplies to them, forcing their hearts to beat harder every time a pregnant mum smokes. This is the message that the Quit Squad is highlighting for the benefit of pregnant women.
As a result, the Quit Squad is calling on pregnant women who smoke to protect their babies’ health by taking advantage of the expert help offered by the team and give their babies a healthier start in life.
Gareth Beck from the Quit Squad said:
“Every cigarette you smoke increases the risk to your pregnancy. Your baby's tiny body is completely dependent on yours, so if you smoke throughout your pregnancy, your baby will go through nicotine withdrawal once it is born. No matter what the stage of your pregnancy is, stopping smoking will benefit both you and your baby immediately. If you stop smoking, you are more likely to have fewer complications in pregnancy, a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby.
“If you or your family smoke while you are pregnant or around your baby, you also increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and also the likelihood of your baby being admitted to hospital for bronchitis and pneumonia during the first year of life. The Quit Squad can support you to give up—you are four times more likely to give up with expert help than going alone. Mums-to-be can also download the Lancashire County Council’s ‘Quit for Us’ app which has been designed to help women quit smoking during pregnancy and includes games, tips and a myth buster to help to achieve a smokefree pregnancy’’
The Quit Squad is a service delivered by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and funded by Lancashire County Council. You can access the service in your local community by visiting a drop-in clinic (for which no appointments are required) or by attending a one-to-one session. The Quit Squad also offers sessions in the community and workplace. For further details, telephone 0800 3286297, visit www.quitsquad.nhs.uk, or follow the Quit Squad on Twitter @LancashireCare #QuitSquad.
More information about quitting smoking when pregnant can be found on the following website: www.quitfortwo.co.uk.
Lisa Peel is from Lancashire and in her late 30s. She had been smoking since the age of 16. Prior to giving up, she smoked 20 cigarettes a day. She became pregnant and was then inspired to go smoke free. This is her story:
“I’d tried stop smoking in the past and also used patches then. But I was never able to stick to it. However, with help from the Quit Squad I was given the support and knowhow to give up totally. The Quit Squad put me in the right direction.
“Now that I have given up smoking, I feel better. I still get the urge to want to smoke, but I’ve come this far and I keep trying not to, especially for my baby. That’s the entire reason why I gave up. I was pregnant and I didn’t want to be a mother who smoked. I enjoyed smoking and if I wasn’t pregnant then I would have continued. However, it’s for the better that I have managed to stop.
“I found the Quit Squad really supportive; I knew that if I needed support and help then I could ring them for help and advice. I would recommend them to other people. The difference in quitting this time to previous times was the fact that I was pregnant. The lady from the Quit Squad who I met was very supportive, she was there to support me.
“Giving up smoking has made a difference in my lifestyle and my fitness is better. My fitness is not as good as it should be because I’ve just had a baby, but I can feel a difference. I can taste food better now and also my sense of smell has improved.
“I think people should use the Quit Squad, especially pregnant women. Quitting can be difficult but I think it’s important that they benefit from the help that’s on offer. I am saving money, about £200 a month. I feel very happy and my friends and family are very supportive of me and totally behind me.”