This topic came up in conversation recently and it is of course one which people feel quite strongly about. Some claim that they would most definitely say something, after all is wrong isn’t it? Others feel that this is an issue between a mother to be and her health care providers.
The NHS are quite clear about the benefits associated with giving up smoking during pregnancy and the associated risks of not doing so. You may read the NHS guidance on smoking in pregnancy here as well as access help and support if you wish to quit smoking yourself.
Knowing that the NHS firmly believe smoking is detrimental to the health of the baby and the mother would you feel that it is your place to approach a pregnant woman and tell them that they should quit?
Which side of the fence are you on?
Yes I would!
Smoking in pregnancy is not acceptable. Yes, many women who are now of the age to start families themselves were around cigarettes when younger and perhaps their parents smoked throughout their own pregnancies. The saying “well I turned out ok didn’t I?” really doesn’t cut it anymore when scientific and medical advances are now able to show us that smoking during pregnancy poses a risk to the baby.
As a member of the community I feel it would be my duty to mention that quitting would be advisible to a pregnant woman. Of course I wouldn’t be rude or aggressive about it, I would simply state that there was a lot of research out now that says smoking when pregnant is harmful and that if she wanted to quit her midwife could help.
Wouldn’t you say something?
No I wouldn’t
Imagine for a moment being approached by someone, stranger or otherwise and being told, however politely, that you are being reckless and potentially harming your baby. The emotional distress not the mention the justified anger wouldn’t be particularly good for the mother or child either. No-one is denying the fact that smoking in pregnancy is not the wisest choice however what gives anyone the right to judge or intervene?
Presumably the woman on the street smoking a cigarette is under the care of a GP, a midwife and perhaps has others supporting her and her pregnancy. These are the people who are knowledgable enough and properly trained in the issue therefore are able to counsel and support someone should they wish to give up smoking.
It is important to remember that smoking is an addiction and that giving up at the drop of a hat is not as easy as it sounds. This is a conversation that should be left to the family and healthcare professionals involved in the pregnancy.
We are curious, would you approach someone you saw smoking when pregnant?
What would you say if you did?