One of the best things that you can do for your baby is to protect them from tobacco smoke.
Even if you don’t smoke yourself it is important to understand the effects that ‘second hand smoking’ (when people around you smoke) has on both your health and that of your unborn baby.
Did you know…..?
- Every cigarette contains over 4000 chemicals some of which are harmful to your unborn baby.
- Smoking a cigarette reduces the oxygen flow to the baby meaning that their heart has to beat faster every time you smoke.
- Smoking increases the risk of pregnancy complications
- Smoking causes damage to the placenta (afterbirth) which increases the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, premature birth and stillbirth.
- Smoking increases the risk of cot death
- Second hand smoke also reduces birth weight and increases the risk of cot death.
- Babies whose parents smoke are more likely to be admitted to hospital during their first year of life with lung/breathing conditions.
It is never too late to stop smoking and there is lots of help, advice and support available. During your pregnancy a midwife should discuss smoking with you and offer to refer you to the stop smoking service. At Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, all mums who smoke at the beginning of pregnancy are routinely referred to the stop smoking service.
We advise you to access the specialist advice and support available to help you to quit as this doubles your chances of being successful. You can use nicotine replacement therapy during pregnancy to help you to stop smoking
All women should be offered carbon monoxide screening at the beginning of pregnancy and again at 36 weeks. This is so that the amount of carbon monoxide in your system and the amount passing to your baby can be assessed and advice given.
Carbon monoxide has no colour or smell and is produced when things are burned. It can be found in cigarette smoke, second hand smoke, care exhaust fumes and faulty gas appliances. The test for carbon monoxide is a very simple breath test. If the test results come back high then you should be given advice about reducing the risk of exposure to carbon monoxide. If you don’t smoke and have not been exposed to second hand smoke then you may have a faulty gas appliance and should contact the Health and Safety Executive - gas safety advice line on 0800 300 363
Smoke free homes/Smoke free pregnancy
Lancashire County Council operate a smoke free homes/smoke free pregnancy scheme to reduce the risks of pregnant women, babies and children being exposed to second hand smoke. The smoke free pregnancy scheme can offer referral to your local stop smoking service, arrange for a free home safety visit from the fire service and provide you with some freebies. Ask a midwife or your local children’s centre about signing up to the scheme
Stop smoking advice and support
The following websites may be helpful
www.nhs.uk (NHS choices website)
The 'Quit for Us' App can be downloaded free of charge from Google Play and the App Store from the links below:
Apple App Store
Google Play Store