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New routine checks in Musgrove’s antenatal clinic help over 40 patients in first month - 24 February 2016

New routine checks in Musgrove’s antenatal clinic help over 40 patients in first month - 24 February 2016

Referrals to the smoke free service for pregnant women have almost doubled in the last month, thanks to the dedication of colleagues in our antenatal screening clinic and their commitment to whole person health care.

In a scheme developed by Musgrove’s specialist midwife for smoking cessation, Sally Bryant, pregnant women are now routinely given a carbon monoxide breath test on arrival to the clinic. They are also asked their smoking status and that of their household. A high test reading identifies women exposed to carbon monoxide, and them as a smoker, or living in a smoking household. They team then refer them to the smoke free service, where they can access free support and help to quit.

Identifying pregnant women who smoke is really important because we know that smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of harm to the unborn, including the risk of having a small baby, and small babies are more likely to be stillborn.

Maternity support workers and midwives have embraced the scheme. Together they have already helped over 40 babies have a better start in life and reduced the risk of complications in pregnancy. The risks of stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome have also been lowered. There are benefits to greater long-term health, too.

Such success just one month into the scheme really highlights the passion and determination of our maternity colleagues in improving the lives of families in their care. The team’s dedication to working together and striving for the best has really made a difference.