Coronation Street star Samia Ghadie helped to launch a campaign to encourage mums-to-be to quit smoking during a visit to Doncaster.
The campaign she is supporting – Mind The Bump – highlights the dangers of smoking when pregnant. During her visit to meet expectant mums at the Antenatal Clinic, of the Women’s Hospital in Armthorpe Road, she also raised awareness of the risks of passive smoking from other family members.
As part of the launch, Samia, who is expecting her second child later this year, met a number of women from the region who have all given up smoking since becoming pregnant.
To celebrate their achievement of kicking the habit, and to encourage other expectant parents to do the same, the smoke-free mums-to-be had their baby bumps painted by local baby bump artist Joanne Partington.
Samia had a good chat with the local mums-to-be, while she helped put the finishing touches to the designs on each baby bump.
She said: “The women I met today have done really well to quit the habit. Protecting a baby from cigarette smoke – even before they are born – is one of the best things both parents can do to give their baby a healthy start in life.
“I’m really pleased to be supporting this campaign, which highlights just how much help and support is available for smokers to quit. It’s never too late to stop smoking and a new baby can be a great reason to quit for any family member, whether you’re pregnant, an expectant father or you’re about to become a grandparent.”
The campaign is being run by the South Yorkshire Tobacco Control Collaborative – a joint venture by Doncaster and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Councils and Sheffield City Council to tackle the harmful effects of tobacco use across the three authorities.
Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “Being pregnant can be one of the most rewarding times in a woman’s life and there is no doubt new parents want the best start possible for their babies.
“I am sure everyone knows the health risks associated with smoking when pregnant – to mothers and of course their babies. But we know it can be really hard to quit smoking, especially if it is something you have done for a long time. Anything which helps mums-to-be and their families to quit smoking can only be a good thing.”
Every cigarette smoked contains more than 4,000 chemicals, which can harm an unborn baby. Smoking can lead to complications during pregnancy, as well as an increased risk of premature birth, breathing problems and even stillbirth.
Although many people are aware of these dangers, there is a real concern that a high proportion of pregnant women in South Yorkshire are still smokers at the time of delivery. Across all three boroughs it is higher than the national average, which is 11 percent.
In addition, children whose parents smoke are more likely to suffer from asthma and other more serious illnesses. There is also an increased risk of cot death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) among babies whose parents smoke.
Helen Baston, Consultant Midwife Public Health from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Jessop Wing, added: “Through this campaign, we aim to encourage more pregnant smokers, and their partners, to quit by letting them know just how much help is available from their midwife and local stop smoking services.
“It’s also important to mention the impact other family members can have, if your partner smokes, their smoke can affect you and the baby both before and after birth. You may also find it more difficult to stop if someone around you smokes.
“Once people stop smoking, the body rids itself of poisonous gases like carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals so it is never too late to quit.”
To find out more about the free support available to help pregnant smokers, their partners and close family quit, contact your stop smoking midwives on 0114 226 5627, visit www.yorkshiresmokefree.nhs.uk or follow @mindthebump.