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New Public Health England resource to support conversations around smoking in pregnancy

Professor Viv Bennett CBE, Chief Nurse, Public Health England
27 July, 2018

New Public Health England resource to support conversations around smoking in pregnancy

As midwives are well aware, stopping smoking is one of the best things a woman and her partner can do to protect the health of their baby through pregnancy and beyond. However, you may not be aware that  in recent years the percentage of women recorded as smokers when they give birth has plateaued. In the UK, 70,000 babies each year are born to mothers who smoke and two babies die suddenly every week because their mothers smoked in pregnancy or after birth.

Every midwife can make a vital difference in triggering quit attempts by providing information about the serious harms of smoking while pregnant, and delivering supportive advice and action. To support you in this important work, Public Health England has launched a new smoking in pregnancy information pack that is exclusively for use by midwifery teams with pregnant smokers.

This new pack gives pregnant women new information about the harms caused by smoking to their baby. It visualises and communicates the unseen harm that happens with every cigarette. The pack also includes a myth buster, advice on the support available from local stop smoking services and tips on dealing with cravings and stress.

It is a clinical resource designed to be shared flexibly as part of a confidential and supportive 1-1 intervention by a midwife, or member of the midwifery team based on their assessment of need and benefit. Evidence from a pilot carried out suggests that talking with their midwife about the main messages in the pack increased quit attempts among pregnant women.

PHE is undertaking a range of work with the profession to maximise midwives’ roles in prevention, safety and wellbeing in pregnancy and beyond and I would encourage all midwifery teams to order this new information pack and consider how it can be used in their day-to-day roles. There is also a new online training module to help midwifery teams deliver very brief advice for smoking in pregnancy, available through e-learning for healthcare here.

Public Health England’s new smoking in pregnancy information pack can be requested by Trusts and midwifery teams here. The password is ‘stopsmoking’.

 

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