Impact on public health practice & policy

babyClear©: supporting pregnant women to quit smoking

Fuse's evaluation of babyClear©, funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR), revealed that the programme almost doubled the number of pregnant women who quit smoking.

The number of women who smoke during pregnancy is higher in the North East than elsewhere in England.

Smoking during pregnancy has a significant impact on women’s and babies’ health, including increased risk of premature births, stillbirths, miscarriages, low birthweight and complications after labour.

Fuse researchers worked in partnership with Fresh (the regional North East tobacco control programme), midwives and stop smoking staff and identified a need for improved implementation of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance to support pregnant women to quit smoking.

In 2013, babyClear© was rolled out in maternity units across all eight of the Foundation Trusts in North East England. At their first appointment, women were offered carbon monoxide (CO) monitoring, if they had a high carbon monoxide reading they were referred to Stop Smoking Services within 24 hours and received extra help and follow up support from a trained smoking cessation advisor.

Fuse evaluated the effectiveness and process of implementation of this initiative with funding from the NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR) Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme (PHPES).

Watch the animation below created to highlight the results of this research

The evaluation examined the effectiveness of babyClear©, looking both at numbers of women quitting smoking before delivery, but also at the impact on health indicators such as low birth weight. The evaluation looked at how acceptable the intervention was with participating women smokers and explored the service conditions to ensure the long term delivery of babyClear©.

Researchers examined the records of 37,726 births of single babies across the North East, including 10,594 to mothers who smoked during pregnancy. The evaluation found that within the first three months of rolling out babyClear© the referral rate to Stop Smoking Services more than doubled (2.5 times higher) across all the Trusts in the region.

The findings revealed the number of pregnant women to quit smoking almost doubled and was associated with increased referrals to stop smoking services

The evaluation also found that babies born to women who quit were healthier and 6% heavier on average than babies whose mothers smoked.

The number of women smoking throughout pregnancy in the region continues to fall. In 2009/2010 22.2% of women smoked during pregnancy and by 2016 this had fallen by nearly a third, to 16%.

The evaluation showed if organisations are willing to adapt to accommodate the progrogramme, babyClear© is an effective way to successfully help support pregnant women to quit smoking. It has since been adopted by other parts of the country to help improve the health of mums-to-be and their babies.

Last modified: Tue, 26 Jan 2021 01:06:12 GMT