Pregnant mums urged to kick the habit on National No Smoking Day

PREGNANT women are being encouraged to quit cigarettes after it was revealed one in six expectant mums in the borough still smoked.

As part of tomorrow’s (March 13) National No Smoking Day, health bosses in the town are advising women in Rotherham to give up smoking to improve the health of their unborn child.

Figures released last year showed one in six pregnant women in Rotherham still smoked - higher than the national average of one in ten.

Wendy Griffith, smoking in pregnancy lead midwife at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Giving up smoking as early as possible in pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for your child.

“Every time you smoke, the baby is starved of oxygen which can have serious implications on their health. 

“It isn’t just a mother smoking that can harm a baby - if anyone else in the same property smokes, it can also have an impact.”

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of complications such as miscarriage, premature birth, a low weight baby and stillbirth.

Once born, children whose parents smoke are also more likely to suffer with asthma and other serious illnesses that may require admission to hospital.

Passive smoking can also have implications for both babies and their mothers. Second hand smoke can reduce the baby’s birth weight and increase the risk of sudden infant death (cot death).

Babies whose parents smoke are more likely to be admitted to hospital in their first year for bronchitis or pneumonia. 

Jacqui Reddick, Get Healthy Rotherham service manager, said evidence showed people were four times more likely to quit successfully with the right support and stop smoking medications - which the service can provide.

“We encourage anyone in Rotherham thinking about quitting to pop down to any event or contact the service direct to get the right support they need,” she said.

During tomorrow’s National No Smoking Day, Get Healthy Rotherham will be at the main entrance in Rotherham Hospital from 10am to 2pm, offering help and advice.

The team will also be inside Rotherham Market (lower level) to provide advice to anyone thinking about stopping smoking. 

Staff will be on hand to explain more about the stop smoking programme, carry out free carbon monoxide readings and refer people to the service.

The theme for this year’s awareness day is “today is the day” and smokers are encouraged to make March 13 the day they decide to quit or to stop smoking completely.

For more information visit www.todayistheday.co.uk.

Pregnant women can get help, advice and support from the antenatal clinic based in Greenoaks at Rotherham Hospital, their community midwife or the Stop Smoking in Pregnancy service on 01709 424058.