Danielle Cull and her family
Ginger Root July 10, 2019

Nottingham mums can kick the smoking habit in pregnancy with help and advice from the NHS app

If someone tried to give your baby a cigarette, you wouldn’t let them, would you?

Stark words from young mum Danielle Cull who managed to quit a 12-year smoking habit when she became pregnant with both her daughters, one-year-old Darcy-Mae, and and Myla-Rae, who is just four months old.

Danielle, 27, from Bulwell, started smoking when she was just 15 years old and said her habit was costing her  £40 a week, money which she can now spend on her two beautiful daughters.

As soon as I did the test, I stopped smoking straight away. It was an easy choice for me. I could just imagine the smoke going down through me and into the baby. Even when my baby was just the size of a grain of rice, I knew I had to stop smoking,

The unborn baby is human life – it’s your job as a mother to protect your baby, even before it’s been born. Your baby hasn’t made the choice to smoke so why should it have to have all that smoke?

Danielle Cull

My partner doesn’t smoke so he was very supportive, but I was lucky that I didn’t need a huge amount of willpower.

The unborn baby doesn’t have a choice so you have to do what you can to make it safe. The baby was enough for me.

Danielle Cull

Danielle started to smoke again after the birth of her first baby Darcy-Mae, although it was fewer cigarettes than before she was pregnant.

I used to smoke outside the house after she was born and I would try to stay away from her immediately after I’d smoked, but I carried on because I wanted to.

Then I fell pregnant again when Darcy-Mae was seven weeks old, so I stopped again. It was a bit harder the second time, but I knew I had to do it.

I just had to think about the baby – you have to protect that little life inside you. By smoking, you’re putting that baby in danger. You wouldn’t give a newborn baby a cigarette, so why do it to them before they’re born?

Danielle Cull

Danielle has not picked up the habit again after the birth of Myla-Rae.

It’s been harder, but I’m saving money and my asthma has been better too. It means going without, but it’s definitely worth it.

She says she was lucky that stopping smoking wasn’t a massive struggle for her and is also keen to stress that she is not preaching to other women.

I’m not saying I’ve done this so you should, far from it, but I just thought about my baby – it didn’t matter if I was moody or narky, it was for the baby.

Danielle Cull

The benefits of stopping smoking in pregnancy

Stopping smoking will help both you and your baby immediately. Harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, and other damaging chemicals will clear from your body. When you stop smoking:

  • You will reduce the risk of complications in pregnancy and birth
  • You are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby
  • You will reduce the risk of stillbirth
  • Your baby is less likely to be born too early and have to face the additional breathing, feeding and health problems that often go with being premature
  • Your baby is less likely to be born underweight: babies of women who smoke are, on average, 200g (about 8oz) lighter than other babies, which can cause problems during and after labour. For example they are more likely to have a problem keeping warm and are more prone to infection
  • You will reduce the risk of cot death, also known as sudden infant death syndrome
  • Stopping smoking now will also help your baby later in life. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to suffer from asthma and other serious illnesses that may need hospital treatment.

For more information, visit the dedicated website lovebump.org.uk/nottinghamshire/

Nottingham City Council worked with the NHS in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire to launch the LoveBump campaign to help women to cut down on smoking after statistics revealed almost twice as many women in some parts of the city and county smoke during pregnancy compared to the national average.

Smokers see their GP over a third more often than non-smokers and smoking is linked to nearly half a million hospital admissions per year, so the drive to encourage smokers to quit is a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

No parent should have to endure the heartbreak of stillbirth, and NHS action, delivered through the skill and professionalism of our midwives, nurses and doctors – means an even greater number of parents and babies experience a healthy birth.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out a clear and ambitious plan to improve England’s maternity services, which alongside even more expectant mums taking action themselves by stopping smoking, will make having a baby as safe as possible.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out a clear and ambitious plan to improve England’s maternity services, which alongside even more expectant mums taking action themselves by stopping smoking, will make having a baby as safe as possible.

Simon Stevens – NHS England chief executive

All the help and support smokers need can be found on the new NHS app which has been rolled out across the county over the last couple of months.

What can the National NHS app do?
  • Search ‘smoking in pregnancy’ for help and advice on the app
  • The NHS App will provide the public with a more easily accessible and convenient health service.
  • You’ll be able to order a repeat prescription, get 111 advice, book a GP appointment and even view your GP record.
  • You’ll still be able to see your doctor for face-to-face advice when you need it but there’s no more waiting for the surgery to open at 8am to make a call for an appointment or a prescription.
  • You’ll be in control of your health whenever and wherever you are, even filling in regular health check forms for managed conditions like asthma instead of having to take the time to go to the doctor. Ideal if you haven’t any problems and frees GPs up to spend more time with patients who need the face-to-face consultation.
  • There’s a directory of services to help too, for example giving details of your nearest pharmacy.
  • The app is now available to download free via the  Appstore  for Apple devices and  Playstore  for android.

With the app you can do anything from making an appointment with your GP to ordering repeat prescriptions and getting advice on a huge range of health conditions, including stopping smoking.

The app is a significant step in modernising NHS services and should make life easier for patients and for practices, with the ability to book and manage appointments online, order repeat prescriptions, view your medical history and access 111 Online, among other services.

GP Sonali Kinra is the clinical lead for maternity and said using the app to access information, advice and support on giving up smoking was going to have a big impact on the health of both mums and babies in the city.

We are looking at the impact across the spectrum, through pregnancy and afterwards. Smoking during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, low birth weight, stillbirth and cot death, and second hand smoke is so damaging to babies.

We want to help mums change their lifestyle so they are healthier, and so are their babies.

GP Sonali Kinra – Clinical lead for maternity