RCM Encourages Pregnant Women to Use An E-Cig
The Royal College of Midwives has published a position statement regarding suggestions on how best to support pregnant women who smoke to make the switch from smoking to vaping.
Smoking Statistics During Pregnancy
Over 10% of pregnant women in the UK are recorded as being active smokers at the time of child delivery, with the number varying quite drastically between areas of different socio-economic status, with the most deprived areas reporting numbers as high as 20%.
A recent RCM survey found that almost 70% of maternity teams do not have a stop smoking specialist midwife, putting added strain on midwives to provide advice and support to patients as best they can about giving up smoking without being sufficiently qualified or informed.
Smoking significantly raises the risk of problems during pregnancy, including stillbirth, miscarriage and birth abnormalities. It also puts the mother at increased risk of complications such as eclampsia and placental abruption.
Research shows that for women who quit smoking early in their pregnancy, the risks of complications such as stillbirth, prematurity and low birth weight are the same as that of non-smokers. This highlights the importance of supporting women to quit during the early stages of their pregnancy with effective and targeted advice and support.
One of the suggestions made in the position statement is that stop smoking support combined with financial incentive schemes, which provide vouchers to encourage continued engagement and remaining smoke free long term, are extremely effective at not only helping expectant mothers remain smoke free but also other members of their household, especially when targeted to areas with high smoking rates.
How Can E-Cigarettes Help?
Many studies have shown that e-cigarettes are substantially safer than smoking, with statistics proving them to be 95% safer than cigarettes.
The RCM is currently undertaking research to further understand the effectiveness and safety of e-cigarettes for pregnant women, but are already recommending their use as a smoking cessation tool as the risk posed by e-cigarettes is so minimal in comparison to smoking that it is quite obviously a better choice.
One of the most prominent suggestions made in the position statement is that of a smoke free NHS. It has been found that staff who smoke have a higher rate of absence from work due to sickness than non-smokers, and this can have a detrimental effect on the delivery of care and workforce planning.
It is suggested that the NHS should act as an example to other workplaces by implementing initiatives to support staff in quitting smoking. Suggestions include integrating stop smoking support into the workplace, by allowing staff members to attending appointments during work hours if needed to assist in a successful quit.
Using an e-cigarette could be crucial in executing the initiative of a smoke free NHS. By converting smokers into vapers, staff would not only be setting a better example to patients, but this could also help with reducing the amount of sickness absence. Having a stop smoking specialist as part of most, if not all, NHS teams would not only benefit staff, but also patients such as pregnant mothers in receiving the highest level of expertise and support.
This could substantially increase the number of expectant mother quitting smoking during the early stages of their pregnancy with the help of specialist support and effective nicotine replacement therapies such as e-cigarettes, decreasing the risk of complications for both the mother and their unborn child.
If you are considering giving up smoking and want to access advice and support, get in touch with your local stop smoking clinic.
To learn more about e-cigarettes, and how they can help as a stop smoking aid, head over to your local Evapo Vape Store and speak to a member of our team. You can read lots more of vaping related news, reviews and how to’s on our blog.