Helping new mums stay smoke free

Published by  News Archive

On 17th Jan 2022

A pregnant woman stands next to a window

Researchers at the University of East Anglia are recruiting to a major new study to help new mums stay smoke free.

The majority of women quit smoking cigarettes either before or during pregnancy, but until now there has been little support to help new mums stay smoke free after the birth of their baby.

The UEA team have worked with women, their partners, and health professionals at the Norfolk Health Visiting Service to design a package of support called BabyBreathe.

It includes innovative and personalised approaches to preventing smoking relapse. And the team are looking for pregnant women and new mums in Norfolk to test the package.

Lead researcher Prof Caitlin Notley, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “The BabyBreathe package offers support to women who have made the really difficult positive behaviour change of stopping smoking during pregnancy.

“At the moment there is no routine support available to encourage new mums to stay smoke-free after childbirth. It’s a big problem as around 75 per cent of women who quit smoking for pregnancy relapse before their baby turns one.

“This can severely affect the health of the mother and baby. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in adults. And babies exposed to second-hand smoke have higher risks of cot death, breathing problems and ear infections. Also, children of smokers are three times as likely to start smoking themselves later in life.

“We want to change that.”

New mums taking part will receive positive support from a health visitor, at the end of pregnancy and when their baby is born. And they will receive a ‘Babybreathe box’ specifically designed by and for postpartum women to give encouragement, praise and support for staying smoke-free.

Tailored text messages will be sent after the baby is born, offering hints, tips and advice. New mums will also be offered support to use nicotine replacement therapy or electronic cigarettes to prevent relapse.

Prof Notley said: “They will also have access to a dedicated website, and the BabyBreathe app, where there are lots of specially designed interactive resources for mums, and dads too.”

The research team are looking for pregnant women who have quit smoking for or during their pregnancy. Taking part in the study is easy and most of the data is collected via a mobile phone.

Women taking part in the study will be offered a £15 shopping voucher at the end of the study as a thank you for taking part.

To find out more or take part, contact babybreathe@uea.ac.uk

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