Pregnant women who are smokers are benefiting from a range of measures put in place at Wye Valley NHS Trust and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust designed to support them to quit.
Maternity staff can now directly refer women to the Stop Smoking Service in Herefordshire where they can receive free one-to-one tailored support at a venue to suit them, free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and free support for their partners too. In Worcestershire, there are Maternity Support workers with specialist skills to support women to quit smoking
Alongside the support for pregnant women and their families, both Trusts have also introduced a range of other measures to support an increase in smoke-free pregnancies, including stocking Nicotine Replacement Therapy on maternity wards which will be prescribed directly by midwives, and providing ‘very brief advice’ training for all midwifery and neonatal staff to help them offer support to patients to quit smoking.
The improvements – which aim to reduce the number of women who are smokers at the time of delivering their baby – form part of a national improvement project to improve the quality and safety of maternity and neonatal units across England.
Elaine Evans, Special Care Baby Ward Manager at WVT and Herefordshire and Worcestershire LMNS Neonatal Nurse, said: “There is strong evidence to support that reducing smoking during pregnancy reduces the risk of sudden infant death, pre-term birth, miscarriage and low birth weight.
“Quitting smoking in pregnancy is the single most important thing pregnant women can do for the health of their baby and themselves. We are keen to do all we can to support pregnant women who are smokers to quit, and the feedback from mums-to-be so far has been really positive.”
The percentage of women who were smokers at the time of delivery at WVT in 2018/19 was 12.8% and the Trust are committed to achieving the national ambition set out in the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle to reduce this to 6% by 2022.
The work forms part of the MatNeo Collaborative at Wye Valley Trust- a three-year programme to support improvement in the quality and safety of maternity and neonatal units across England.