Quit smoking help for foreign mums

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MUMS-TO-BE in Spalding are to receive extra support to give up after shock figures showed an alarming number continue to smoke during pregnancy.

The latest figures show that of all the women who give birth at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital – including many from South Holland – almost 30 per cent are smokers.

And figures collected by United Lincolnshire Health Trust show a shocking east-west divide within the county in the number of pregnant smokers.

Over the past six months, 10.5 per cent of new mothers at Lincoln County Hospital and 12 per cent at Grantham District Hospital are smoers, compared to the 29 per cent of smokers at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital.

The figures put Lincolnshire’s average at 18.6 per cent – considerably higher than the 13.6 national average.

Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage and can cause complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

The Trust is now looking to provide dedicated support, particularly to Eastern European women living in the Spalding area, who until now have proved harder to reach.

Stephanie Heathcote, smoking cessation lead for Lincolnshire Community Health Service, which runs the Phoenix Stop Smoking Service, said: “Nationally, the Government wants stop smoking services to work towards reducing the number of pregnant women who smoke throughout their pregnancy to 11 per cent by 2015.

“In Lincolnshire we are working to address the divide which has developed in the county.

“We are continuing to achieve the targets for the Lincoln and Grantham areas, however we still face a challenge in reaching mothers who choose to smoke in the east of the county.”

The Phoenix Stop Smoking Service has specially-trained staff working in partnership with midwives to help pregnant women stop smoking.

Last year, 1,378 pregnant smokers were referred to the service and 503 mums-to-be were helped to quit.

Mrs Heathcote added: “ We have a very strong partnership with the midwifery services in Lincolnshire and the midwives are very proactive with all of their pregnant smokers, offering routine carbon monoxide screening for all pregnant women and referring them to our service as part of their antenatal care.”