Pregnant women urged to get support to stop smoking

Thursday 6 October 2016

Gemma Frederick with her son Joshua Jean-Marie and stop smoking specialist Rowan Agate.

Pregnant women are four times more likely to quit smoking with NHS support, according to experts from Guy’s and St Thomas’ who are encouraging local women to get help during ‘Stoptober’.

Around 83,000 babies are born in England each year to mothers who smoke right up to the birth of their baby.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risks of miscarriage, stillbirth and birth defects. It also increases the likelihood that babies will be born early, have a low birth weight, need to stay in hospital for longer, or develop a long-term illness like asthma.

Gemma Frederick, 38, from Camberwell turned to Guy's and St Thomas' stop smoking support service when she was pregnant with her second son, Joshua.

Gemma, who successfully quit a 20-a-day smoking habit in November 2015, says: "I tried to quit smoking when I had my first son Zachariah. I managed to get down to less than five a day. But gradually the number of cigarettes crept back up again.

“This time around, with my son Joshua, I went to the doctor and asked for help to stop smoking straight away. My GP referred me to Rowan Agate, the stop smoking specialist at Guy’s and St Thomas’. She made me feel comfortable right away. I knew she understood and wasn’t judging me.”

Gemma was prescribed nicotine patches and oral strips to help manage the withdrawal symptoms and has been helped to overcome the triggers that cause her to smoke through meditation and relaxation techniques.

She says: “Now I don’t want to smoke and I have no intention of doing so. I’m a lot healthier, I’m not huffing and puffing climbing the stairs, and I know I’ve always got Rowan’s support if I need it.”

Stop smoking specialist Rowan Agate says: “During pregnancy, anxiety levels increase dramatically the closer women get to the birth. Most women need a huge amount of willpower to maintain quitting. We discuss the benefits of quitting, for the health of the mother and her baby. With our support and medication, quitting smoking is achievable.”

Guy's and St Thomas' stop smoking support service offers free intensive treatment and support in a range of locations, including at home.

For more information, contact the stop smoking support service on 020 7188 0995, email [email protected], or text 2QUIT to 80800 (texts are free).

Last updated: October 2016

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