A new outpatient clinic is helping women who are pregnant to quit smoking.
The clinic is held every Wednesday morning in women’s outpatients at the University Hospital of North Tees and Thursday at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
It has been developed with the national babyClear programme and is run by midwives and stop smoking advisors to demonstrate to pregnant mums how smoking in pregnancy harms unborn babies.
Smoking can lead to a number of complications including miscarriages and can be a major cause of premature births, stillbirths and medical complications after birth.
Stop smoking advisor for pregnancy Judith Rees said: “Around 360 tiny lives could be saved by cutting smoking related miscarriages in the North East every year.
“The North East historically had the highest rates of smoking during pregnancy in the country with 18.1% of women at North Tees in 2014/15 smoking at time of delivery compared to 11.4% nationally.
“For this reason, we need this clinic to help expectant mothers in the area.”
babyClear works in the following ways:
• Women receive carbon monoxide (CO) screening as part of the routine tests they have during their first appointment with midwifery staff, Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas produced from smoking cigarettes.
• Midwives take mums through a detailed, hard-hitting discussion at the 12-week scan using new software to show the potential harm being done when a baby is exposed to carbon monoxide, based on the woman’s CO readings. At the trust women who have so far declined help to quit are shown how carbon monoxide travels through the placenta and umbilical cord to their baby and causes the heart beat to increase, reducing oxygen levels when carbon monoxide surges.
• Women are shown the result nicotine has in reducing blood flow. Women and their partners are then asked if they were aware of this information, most of them say no, they are then offered nicotine replacement and support to ‘Quit’
The stop smoking service can be contacted on 01642 383819.