A mother-of-two has managed to quit smoking thanks to the support she received from her local midwife-led stop smoking service.
In 2020-21, one in 10 women (10.2%) in Tameside smoked in pregnancy compared to 13.6% the previous year.
Rachel*, 31, from Ashton first contacted Tameside’s stop smoking midwife-led Tobacco Advisory Service in 2018 whilst pregnant with her first daughter. She had been smoking for 5 years and had managed to cut down on the number of cigarettes she’d smoked but was unable to stop completely.
In 2020 she became pregnant again and was contacted by the service and offered support to stop smoking.
Rachel said: “I welcomed the offer and took it up straight away. My first baby had been delivered early and was small in weight and this made want to do the best for my second baby and my daughter. I also wanted to improve my own health to live a longer life to be there for my children.”
Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to protect women and their unborn child from a range of health risks and complications during labour, which can include an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth-weight and sudden unexpected death in infancy.
She added: “What made me quit for good this time were the changes made to the stop smoking service over the last 18 months. My advisor gave me the confidence to stop smoking and remain smoke free, in particular, the one to one support I received from her and the non-judgemental approach taken helped.”
At the beginning of Covid the stop smoking midwife-led team adapted the service and gave women their own individual carbon monoxide machine. This enabled Rachel to have more control, helped her keep on track and gave her another source of motivation. She also enrolled onto the financial incentive scheme that provides Love to Shop vouchers to women as a reward for their hard work and dedication in staying smokefree. Although not the main reason for quitting, this kept her going and she treated the vouchers as a reward and enjoyed spending them on her family. Combining the carbon monoxide monitoring, her weekly support and the incentive scheme she got great results.
She continued: “I felt able to confide in my advisor and contact the service for support at a time when Covid was rife. I felt my advisor had become a friend and felt comfortable in her presence. I was always able to be honest with her.
“Looking back now I felt my own health had improved. I was more able to run about with my children without becoming breathless. I’m proud to be a non-smoker and I’d remembered one thing - ‘children of parents who smoke are more likely to smoke’. I did not want this for my girls.”
Throughout her pregnancy she used nicotine replacement patches and an e-cigarette - one of the most successful combinations in stop smoking support. Twelve months after her second daughter was born, Rachel is still smoke free and enjoying life with her two beautiful girls.
Tameside Council Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Population Health, Councillor Eleanor Wills, said: “In Tameside and Glossop we have achieved our lowest ever annual rate of women who smoke during pregnancy at the time of their baby’s delivery.
“This is a fantastic achievement for us and I’m so proud of the many women who have quit smoking during pregnancy to give their baby the best start in life.
“Any women who want to quit smoking prior to conceiving or during pregnancy are urged to seek professional help for the sake of their unborn child. The midwife-led stop smoking team and your local stop smoking service are there to help you.”
The midwife-led stop smoking team based at the midwifery unit at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, Tameside Hospital, is a joint initiative in partnership with Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council offering additional support to help pregnant women stop smoking. They are open Monday to Friday. Telephone: 0161 922 5989, text or phone 07342 079458 or email: email@example.com.
Be Well Tameside offer support to people who live, work or have a GP in Tameside. Telephone: 0161 716 2000, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Facebook and Twitter: @BeWellTameside, or Instagram: bewell_tameside. Website: https://www.penninecare.nhs.uk/bewelltameside
For Glossop residents contact Live Life Better Derbyshire. Telephone: 0800 085 2299 / 01629 538 200 or email: email@example.com
Smokers can also search smokefree to find support to make a quit attempt. Visit: www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/
*Name changed to protect her identity.
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