My day starts arriving at a clinic venue to see a newly referred pregnant woman, “Samantha”. Samantha has been referred by her community midwife, who had carried out a routine carbon monoxide reading which showed the woman to be a smoker. Samantha explained that she had been trying to cut-down since finding out she was pregnant but was struggling as her partner also smoked.
As is often the case she was quite apologetic for being a smoker; most women understand the risks of smoking in pregnancy, but as with many smokers, quitting is not so easy. I reassured her that she was now taking positive steps to stop smoking and she was doing the best for her baby. I asked dad-to-be if he was prepared to stop smoking; unfortunately, at the moment he isn’t ready but said he would consider it later on. Having another smoker in the house often makes it much more difficult for pregnant women to stop smoking, however, I know that many partners do end up quitting and support their partners in their quit attempt. I always find this encouraging and it really helps with me seeing them as often as I do, as I can keep nudging them in the right direction.
After going through how the service will support Samantha and setting a quit day, I see a couple of women who are at various stages of their pregnancy and quit. They are both doing very well with their quit attempt; both have quit for many weeks and are finding it relatively easy. We can equip women to have the best possible chance of quitting through the support they get from the service and the Nicotine Replacement Therapy products.
I find my work on smoking in pregnancy particularly rewarding. I see it as two lives that potentially have been saved, whose quality of life has been improved, risk of illness reduced and overall a happier, healthier family life achieved.