My name is Caroline Miller and I am the new specialist stop smoking practitioner for pregnancy based at Leighton Hospital. I am also a practising midwife.
There is strong evidence that reducing smoking in pregnancy reduces the likelihood of stillbirth. It also impacts positively on many other smoking-related pregnancy complications such as premature birth, miscarriage, low birth-weight and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Whether or not a woman smokes during her pregnancy has a far reaching impact on the health of the child throughout his or her life.
The national guidance wants to get the smoking at time of delivery rate down to 6% by 2022. Currently at Leighton Hospital this can be as high as 18-20% so there is a lot of work to do.
There was no one in the role before me for a few months so this has meant starting at the beginning.
I have already managed to set up clinics at the antenatal clinic and children’s centre in Crewe and am also visiting ladies at home. I have been promoting the service as much as I can.
I liaise closely with the midwives so they are confident in referring the women to see me. I have also joined a smoking focus group chaired by a consultant obstetrician who are working towards reducing the smoking rate in pregnant women.
I can also see partners of the pregnant ladies and staff members at Leighton Hospital as it works towards smoke free status.
I hope that I can have a positive impact in my role and see the smoking rates reduce so that our women, babies and families benefit from a healthier lifestyle in the future.