My advice to other parents-to-be is educate yourselves about the risks of smoking while you’re pregnant and take advantage of the specialist stop smoking service.
Jessica, from Farnworth Bolton has successfully quit smoking with the support of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust’s maternity stop smoking service.
Jessica started smoking as a teenager due to peer pressure from friends. Over the last two years, she has made several quit attempts but ended up relapsing on nights out. When she discovered she was pregnant, she knew this was the perfect opportunity to stop smoking to give herself and her baby a healthier future.
With the support of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust’s maternity stop smoking service and her Maternity Support Worker, Helen Parkinson, Jessica has quit successfully and is now looking forward to a smokefree future with her family.
Jessica, 26, said: “I started smoking when I was around 14 or 15, as my friends smoked and there was the pressure to join in. We used to go to a lot of music gigs, and it just seemed natural to smoke in this type of environment.
“When I started college, aged 16, I smoked every day, and I quickly became addicted. I used to smoke about 20 cigarettes a day, and soon realised that my main problem was that smoking and drinking went hand in hand. If I was out socialising, I tended to smoke more if I had a few drinks. I knew it wasn’t healthy, but I couldn’t stop.
I had tried to quit before using both patches and an e-cigarette, but I wasn’t successful. Looking back, I now realise it wasn’t the right time for me, you have to be in the right mindset to quit. Initially, when I found out I was pregnant I was convinced I would be fine, and that I could keep smoking. I knew I was going to find it really difficult, and I was scared.
Jessica, who works full-time as an energy consultant, knew she needed support to quit and was really pleased to be referred to Smoking Specialist Maternity Support Worker Helen Parkinson.
“At my first midwife appointment in March, we discussed smoking and how it was harmful for the baby. My midwife told me she would refer me to the specialist stop smoking service, and a couple of days later Helen rang.
“I was a bit apprehensive at first as I thought I was going to be told off for smoking, but Helen was lovely. She talked through all the different options for quitting and gave me lots of helpful advice. I started using patches and I gradually cut down from 20 cigarettes to 10, and then to 3 a day, until I stopped completely. I used the patches for a month, and now use an inhalator once a week. However, being pregnant and suffering from morning sickness has played a big role in quitting, as I can’t stand cigarettes now.
Helen and I touch base every week, and I honestly don’t think I would have quit smoking if it hadn’t been for her constant reassurance and support. We have a good rapport and I know I can approach her with any concerns I may have. I owe Helen a lot, as know I’m going to have a healthier smokefree future because of her.
Now living smokefree, Jessica is looking forward to welcoming her baby into the world in November and moving in with her partner.
“I’m excited about the future, as not only are we having a baby, but we are going to be moving in together as my partner is joining the army. So, this year is going to be really special, and my long-term goal is to get my partner to quit smoking too.
“My advice to other parents-to-be is educate yourselves about the risks of smoking while you’re pregnant and take advantage of the specialist stop smoking service. Give quitting a go, keep trying and don’t worry if you relapse, just try again. If I can do it, so can you.”