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03 Jul 2022

Limerick hospital starts campaign to help pregnant women in quitting smoking

Limerick hospital starts campaign to help pregnant women in quitting smoking

Healthcare staff Niamh Wallace, Dr Naro Imcha, Bedelia Collins, Miriam Nolan, and Eileen Ronan at the launch of the Stop Smoking Initiative | Picture: Brian Arthur Photography

A NEW CAMPAIGN gets under way today to help pregnant woman who smoke quit.

To mark World No Tobacco Day, the UL Hospitals Group and HSE Mid-West community healthcare have launched a new dedicated service at the University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) in the Ennis Road.

Here, almost 5,000 women access antenatal services each year, with the facility set to become a gateway for pregnant women to the HSE Quit Mid-West service which is free and available across Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary.

Medical and midwifery staff at UMHL have been trained to identify the smokers among women attending antenatal appointments, and to offer advice as well as a carbon monoxide test and a referral to HSE Quit Mid West services in their communities.

It's estimated that the initiative has the potential to support 400-500 pregnant women to quit smoking every year.

Eileen Ronan, director of midwifery at UMHL said: "Early interventions around tobacco use with pregnant women who smoke can result in reduced risks of complications in pregnancy and birth. Babies are less likely to be born prematurely or to face the additional breathing, feeding and health problems that are often associated with premature birth. In additional, the risk of sudden infant death syndrome is reduced."

Around one in 10 pregnant women in Ireland report that they smoke at the time of their first antenatal visit.

Smoking cessation among pregnant women has been prioritised in the HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme:

Studies have shown that by using carbon monoxide monitoring during antenatal care, combined with an ‘opt-out’ referral to smoking cessation services, has doubled attendance at these services, and doubling the probability of mums-to-be having quit by the time their baby is born.

Martina Blake, national lead of the Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, said: “I'm delighted to see a dedicated stop smoking support service being established in University Maternity Hospital Limerick.  We know that stopping smoking can be difficult due to the physical addiction and emotional attachment those who smoke have to tobacco, so it’s essential that we provide compassionate, non-judgemental, professional support to women to help them to quit during pregnancy and beyond. Stopping smoking is the single most important health behaviour change you can make which will have a positive health benefit for women and their babies within days of stopping. Establishing this new service is one of the key recommended actions in the recently published stop smoking clinical guidelines."

Should you or anyone you know wish to avail of this free HSE service or learn more, call 065-6865841 to speak with one of the team.

Further information is also available from www.hse.ie

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