Lancashire County Council has launched a new campaign to urge young pregnant women who smoke to quit for the sake of their own health and their baby’s.
Mums-to-be can get all the help and support they need via a new website quitfortwo.co.uk specially developed for women aged 16-25, in desk-top and mobile phone friendly versions.
The website, which has been developed in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Council and Cumbria County Council, includes advice on giving up smoking and tackles the myths behind smoking and the benefits of quitting in a simple and easy to understand style.
When pregnant women attend their first booking appointment they will receive an information leaflet, and if they smoke, a wallet-sized card with details of the website and the telephone number for their local stop smoking service.
If they smoke, their midwife will refer them to their local stop smoking service who will contact them and make them an appointment. The campaign aims to encourage hesitant young mums-to-be to attend this first appointment and understand what support is available.
The appointment can be as a one-to-one with an advisor, part of a group, by phone and text or a home visit – the woman can choose what type of appointment works best for her. Stop smoking advisors are friendly and non-judgemental and will go through the range of help and support available to people who want to quit smoking.
Lancashire County councillor Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, says: “The Quit for Two website and publicity not only provide a source of information for pregnant women who smoke, they are a helpful resource for midwives and other health professionals.
“The critical point is the time between the women receiving their referral phone call and their appointment date with stop smoking services and the website is a vital tool to encourage them to go along to that appointment.
“Teenage women are six times more likely to smoke throughout pregnancy than older mums-to-be, therefore young pregnant women are most in need of this additional support to help them quit.
“Whether you are pregnant or not, smoking has serious health consequences but it can be devastating for a growing baby.”
There are over 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which can cross the placenta and be absorbed by the baby, causing huge amounts of damage.
Nicotine increases the foetus’s heart rate, and therefore its oxygen requirements, but it also reduces the amount of oxygen available to the baby’s brain. The risks are substantial.
Babies who are born to smoking mothers have a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), plus higher risk of birth complications, premature labour and low birth weight.
These babies are much more vulnerable to health problems in infancy and early childhood and have a much higher risk of developing respiratory problems.
Details of all the support available and how to get it can be found by visiting www.quitfortwo.co.uk