First steps to stopping smoking
Health leaders are encouraging pregnant women in Hull to take their first steps to stopping smoking following the release of figures stating almost 21% of pregnant women in the city smoke*.
Caroline Clark, Healthy Lifestyles Midwife, Hull Women and Children’s Hospital said:
“We understand that the idea of stopping smoking can be hard to face for some women; being pregnant can be difficult enough in itself! But it is important to know that smoking can have a long term impact on a baby’s health and development, as well as the health of its mother.”
Smoking during pregnancy not only increases mothers’ risk of cancer and related health issues, but can also have a huge effect on the health of the unborn child, including the child potentially suffering with asthma for life, increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth or complications at and after birth.
Already in Hull pregnant women are asked to take part in ongoing carbon monoxide monitoring (CO) through their pregnancy at antenatal appointments, with plans for this to also happen at GP surgeries and in the community as part of a 2017 pilot.
“We want to see every baby given the best possible start in life, reducing exposure to cigarette smoke is the single most important thing a woman can do for her baby.”
Locally, pregnant women can access one to one support and advice through Smokefree Hull, which is run by City Health Care Partnership CIC, with appointments and programmes tailored to their individual needs and in locations to suit them.
Pregnant women struggling to give up smoking are advised to speak to their midwife for support, text ‘Steps’ to 61825 for further information from Smokefree Hull, or visit www.readytostopsmoking.co.uk for more information.
* 2015/16 figures show approximately 21% of pregnant women in Hull were smokers at time of delivery
The importance of vaccinations when pregnant
Local clinicians are encouraging expectant mothers in Hull to protect themselves and their baby against both flu and whooping cough by being vaccinated over winter.
Nationally 1 in 11 maternal deaths are attributed to flu and cases of whooping cough are on the rise.
Dr Amy Oehring, local GP and clinical lead for the NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Maternity strategy, said:
“It is extremely important that all pregnant women consider both the flu and whooping cough vaccination, to protect themselves and their babies no matter which stage of pregnancy they are at.”
Expectant mothers can be vaccinated against whooping cough from 20 weeks, with the flu vaccination at any stage of pregnancy.
Being vaccinated protects expectant mothers from flu and whooping cough, and the complications illness in pregnancy can bring, it also means baby will be protected against both viruses from birth.
Dr Dan Roper, NHS Hull CCG Chair, said:
“Any illness during pregnancy can be more serious and result in complications. Being vaccinated will protect you and your baby, who will be born with immunity to flu and whooping cough.”
Both flu and whooping cough can be dangerous for new-borns, with whooping cough often leading to hospital admission. Vaccinating during pregnancy is the most effective, and only way, of protecting your baby against either of these illnesses.
Dr Oehring added: “I urge you to give being vaccinated serious consideration.”
Both vaccinations are available for free and can be received from your GP practice, with the flu vaccination also available from local pharmacies.
The flu vaccination is available between September and February each year; pregnant women are encouraged to get the vaccination every year, regardless of whether or not they have had it before.
The whooping cough vaccination can only be administered at the GP practice, but is available all-year-round. Expectant mothers must be vaccinated during every pregnancy.
To find out more about pregnancy health visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/