Somerset mums are having healthier pregnancies and ‘smokefree’ lives thanks to the support they receive during and after their pregnancy.
Last year was a record breaking year for the Mums2Be Smokefree service (M2Bs), with 504 women using the Somerset County Council funded service to support their attempt to quit smoking, and 292 (58%) of them being successful. These numbers are an increase on 2015/16 when 423 women used the service, up 19%, and 232 quit, up 26%.
Unlike the standard Smokefreelife Somerset service, Mums2Be staff support women throughout their pregnancy and for up to two months after birth. The service works closely with the midwifery teams in local hospitals to ensure that as many women as possible who smoke are referred for support to quit. The end result is fewer miscarriages and stillbirths, many more healthy babies being delivered, and there are more homes that are ‘smokefree’ for the growing families.
The service also offers professional and peer support through a Facebook group, available 24/7 where women help each other through cravings and to avoid relapsing to smoking.
Cllr. Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member with responsibilty for Public Health and Wellbeing said: “Smoking is the leading preventable cause of bad birth outcomes in pregnancy, so assisting women to quit is vitally important for healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
“Preventing just one very low weight birth could save public services hundreds of thousands of pounds in health, special needs education and social care, so investing in prevention like this makes perfect sense.
“I’m delighted so many women are choosing to use this service, supporting each other on Facebook, and sharing their positive feedback about the support they receive. This is helping to give children the best possible start in life.”
Somerset also offers brief advice for smoking in pregnancy training to Midwives for four years as part of their mandatory training, ensuring that every Midwife knows how to raise the subject, address the issues and refer to the service.
Every pregnant woman has a carbon monoxide screen at their booking visit and at each subsequent ante natal visit to assess their smoking status and every smoker is referred to the M2Bs service.
Emma (28) from Glastonbury, Somerset gave up with the help of M2Bs service at the start of her second pregnancy. She said: “My Midwife suggested I use the M2Bs service. Professional stop smoking advisers come to your house and help you to stop smoking and offer stop smoking products to choose from. When you have your carbon monoxide levels tested it shows just how much goes directly into your growing baby inside which is an eye-opener.”
“The Facebook group advisers are there 24/7 to give encouragement and help you deal with cravings. All the mums share experiences and many post a photograph of their new ‘smokefree’ baby after they have given birth. That’s a real achievement.”
Notes to Editors:
Case Study: – Emma (28) Glastonbury, Somerset
Emma (28) from Glastonbury is 35 weeks pregnant and smokefree. She said: “During my first pregnancy I gave up smoking after the 12 week scan ‘cold turkey’ and on my own which was very hard. I went back to smoking a week after the birth. I knew the risks of miscarriage and stillbirth which was an incentive to quit, but it was too difficult.”
“At the start of my second pregnancy the M2Bs service was up and running and my Midwife recommended it. Since quitting smoking I am enjoying using the money I would have spent on fags for my children and my ‘one to be’ instead. I also really enjoy and taste my food now. I can also really smell the tobacco on other smokers, and I’m so glad that’s no longer me!”
Here’s some of the feedback about M2BS from mums:
- “The non-judgmental approach was helpful in me choosing to quit, the ongoing support was brilliant” #M2Bs #feedback @YeovilHospital
- 2That time was my time, I could offload, talk about not smoking and other things too. She helped me cope with my stress, she didn’t judge, she listened. She was there when I needed her. Thank you M2BS.”
- “Everything has been perfect for me. I feel I am listened to and understood. I can share anything. I like the online group too as I have support all the time.”
Statistics on Women’s Smoking Status at Time of Delivery, England:-
Quarter 1, 2016-17
This report presents the latest results and trends from the women’s smoking status at time of delivery (SATOD) data collection in England. Smoking during pregnancy can cause serious pregnancy-related health problems. These include complications during labour and an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth-weight and sudden unexpected death in infancy.
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