Strong evidence confirms that quitting smoking during pregnancy reduces the risk of stillbirth along with other complications such as miscarriage, preterm birth, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.
Mums2Be Smokefree enables families to quit, offering 1-1 support, home visits, free medication, voucher incentives, and now remote CO monitoring.
In March 2020, the Mums2Be Smokefree Service had to replace 1-1 service user sessions with telephone support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. CO monitoring stopped with negative impact on quit rates resulting in increased health risks. In April 2021, the Service started an iCOquit pilot in partnership with Bedfont to enable remote support for service users to quit and remain quit throughout their pregnancy and post-partum.
The iCOquit is a personal Bluetooth CO monitor. Used alongside a free application on mobile devices this enables self-care for users to monitor their CO readings remotely and safely and share their results with their Stop Smoking Practitioner via WhatsApp.
The iCOquit is an effective tool to motivate and maintain a quit status by enabling self-care and remote CO validation by service users to compliment practitioner support. The monitor opens more conversations and improves practitioner-service user relationships and outcomes. Attendance of first appointments has increased by 26.78% (n=105). And 4- and 12-week CO validation increased, marked by 62.8% (n=130) 4-week quits and 67.88% (n=112) 12-week quits. Not quits have reduced by 9.36% (n=24) and lost to follow-up by 4.16% (n=1). Innovative partnering with industry, practitioners and service users enables improved self-care and support pathways to quit smoking.
When the midwife referred me to Mums2Be Smokefree I didn’t feel ready to give up. I was expecting my first baby and the changes that came with that were daunting.
At thirty-two, I had smoked since I was young. I enjoyed smoking, it was my ‘go-to’ in stressful situations, I was addicted. Part of me couldn’t see anyone could help me quit.
I started off on NRT patches and planned to lower the dose and eventually stop. I had a consultation with a practitioner, from the service. I couldn’t believe how understanding they were when I felt I couldn’t quit.
I was given an iCOquit this helped to keep me motivated by checking my own CO readings regularly and sharing my progress with the practitioner. I was proud to show off my results to family and friends. I think it’s a very clever piece of kit. I would definitely recommend it.
Within a few weeks, I had completely stopped smoking and also stopped wearing patches, I just began to lose the need for a cigarette. Knowing I was keeping my unborn baby safe made the whole thing worth it.
The support I have received throughout my pregnancy from my practitioner coupled with the iCOquit has helped me so much. It’s much more than just a stop smoking service. I would urge any newly pregnant mum or even if you're further along, it’s never too late to consider giving up, to give it at least a try.