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Trust launches new smokefree maternity pathway to support healthy pregnancies

Our Trust has launched a new smokefree maternity pathway, aimed at supporting pregnant people and their households in achieving healthy pregnancies and reducing the risks associated with smoking during and after pregnancy. The initiative, which officially commenced on Tuesday, 9 May, is a significant milestone in the Trust’s ongoing commitment to the health and wellbeing of the local community.

According to the most recent data, 8.6% of pregnant people in England were known to be smokers at the time of delivery*, highlighting the importance of addressing smoking cessation. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of complications in pregnancy and birth, and there are risks to both the pregnant person and the baby through exposure to household second-hand smoke.

Jackie Coleman, specialist stop smoking midwife for the Trust, said: "We have a higher-than-average number of service users who are still smoking at the time of delivery. Thanks to additional funding received from the NHS Prevention programme, the implementation of this new smokefree pathway will help us reduce the number of pregnant people who are smoking at the time of delivery from the current 10% to 6%, to bring us in line with the national average.”

With increased investment and the addition of more personnel, the maternity smoking cessation team at the West Suffolk Hospital has developed the smokefree pathway. It offers pregnant people comprehensive support, including appointments with a dedicated smoking cessation midwife who provides specialised guidance and support such as nicotine replacement therapy. In addition, pregnant people will benefit from follow-up sessions with a smokefree maternity support worker who will offer behavioural and broader stop smoking support before and after giving birth.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, pregnant people and their partners are now eligible for NHS-funded tobacco treatment services. The Trust, in collaboration with the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System (SNEE), has expanded this service to include all members of the household. This inclusive approach ensures that the entire household receives the necessary support to create a smokefree environment, enhancing the health and well-being of both pregnant people and their families.

Sue Wilkinson, chief nurse at the Trust, said: "We are thrilled to launch our new smokefree maternity pathway, offering pregnant people and their households the support they need to make positive changes. By providing comprehensive smoking cessation services, we aim to reduce the risks associated with smoking during pregnancy and ensure a healthier start to life for both the pregnant person and their baby.

“The introduction of this smokefree maternity pathway reflects the Trust’s dedication to providing high-quality, patient-centred care. By offering continuity throughout the pregnancy journey, the hospital ensures that the whole household receives support from trained smoking cessation professionals who possess in-depth knowledge and can discuss various options for maintaining a healthy pregnancy and promoting overall well-being.”

*Statistics on Women’s Smoking Status at Time of Delivery: England, Quarter 3, 2022/23


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Jackie Coleman, specialist stop smoking midwife for the Trust.

Jackie Coleman, specialist stop smoking midwife for the Trust.