Date Published: 23 October 2006

Smoking cessation project for mums-to-be in Scotland

Health News from Scotland

Pregnant women who are being given help to quit smoking thanks to an innovative cessation project met Health Minister Andy Kerr today.

Mr Kerr visited the specialist midwife-led smoking cessation service based at Forth Park Maternity Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

The two midwives who run the service visit women in their own home, giving advice and support on stopping smoking and other pregnancy-related health advice.

The dedicated service started in May this year and is ensuring that more pregnant women in Fife are now trying to quit, with 50 expectant mums currently getting help to give up.

Mr Kerr said:

" Giving up smoking is the best thing you can do for you and your baby's health.

_ I am very pleased that the mums-to-be I am meeting today have recognised the risks smoking poses to their unborn children and decided to stop and I hope many more women will be encouraged to do the same.

_ But I also know that giving up smoking is very difficult, and that is why projects like this are so important in giving mums-to-be the support they need to kick the habit.

_ It is now being recognised that midwife-led cessation services can be more successful in getting pregnant women to stop smoking for good, because of the holistic care they can provide.

_ This scheme is an excellent example of what can be done to encourage expectant mothers to stop smoking and reduce the harmful effects of second-hand smoke on their unborn babies."

Last week, NHS Health Scotland launched a new series of adverts for Smokeline and a DVD featuring pregnant women who have given up smoking with the help of their local smoking cessation specialists.

Pamela Galloway, a midwife working for the Fife smoking cessation service, said:

" The scheme is working really well and I think part of its success is down to the relationships we build up with the mums.

_ As well as helping them give up smoking, we also help mums create a smoke-free environment in their home to minimise the effects of second-hand smoke.

_ I'm really proud of how well the women who have joined the project are doing and am looking forward to helping hundreds more mums-to-be across Fife in the future."

The 2004 Scottish Household Survey showed that around 23% of women smoked during pregnancy.

Evidence suggests that smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of having a a low birth weight baby. As well as being small, a low birth weight baby is prone to a variety of complications which may affect his/her wellbeing and subsequent development.

Health boards have been asked to make pregnant women a priority group for smoking cessation services. Record funding of £9 million is being put into smoking cessation this year to expand services, with a further £2 million next year.

One of the first midwife-led smoking cessation service was set up at St John's Hospital in Livingston in 2003-4 and other schemes are now running elsewhere in Lothian, Greater Glasgow and Highland.

 

Source: Scottish Executive (Scotland).

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