Figures coming down as midwife targets pregnant smokers in Telford

Around one in six mothers-to-be are still smoking in Telford & Wrekin – but numbers have reduced over the past year after a new role was created to tackle the problem head-on.

Michelle Powell has been a midwife for 25 years and has worked at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust for more than 13 years – but in April last year she stepped into a different kind of role.

Telford and Wrekin had a much higher than average number of women who smoked at the time of giving birth in 2016/17.

A total of 21 per cent of pregnant women were smoking when their babies were born – compared to the national average of 10.5 per cent.

Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group and Telford & Wrekin Council decided to jointly commission a public health midwife role to try to tackle the issue.

And figures show that since Michelle was appointed to the position, the amount of women still smoking at the time of birth has dropped.

It reduced to 17.2 per cent in 2017/18.

Michelle, who works alongside a support midwife, encourages mothers-to-be to stop smoking using nicotine replacement therapies, offers advice and monitors their progress.

Data shows that pregnant women aged between 20 and 24 were most likely to smoke at the time they gave birth in 2017/18 and hotspot areas in Telford and Wrekin included Sutton Hill, Woodside and Brookside.


Michelle Powell, public health midwife at SaTH, speaking to a mother-to-be

In the first year, just under 700 pregnant women were referred to speak to the specialist midwives.

Explaining the risks of smoking during pregnancy, Michelle said: "It increases the risk of miscarriage and premature labour.

"There is an increased risk of the baby not growing as well as he or she should and the risk of haemorrhage."


Michelle reaches out to pregnant smokers, offering them an appointment at their home, Telford's Princess Royal Hospital or anywhere else that suits them.

She carries out an assessment of their smoking habits and checks their carbon monoxide levels by getting them to blow into a hand-held machine.

When the level of carbon monoxide in a person's blood increases, it stops their red blood cells from carrying as much oxygen as they should.

Nicotine also causes blood vessels to constrict and as the blood vessels narrow, a person's blood pressure rises.

Michelle, of Hanwood, near Shrewsbury, says a person's carbon monoxide level should be below four, but it once hit 53 in the highest result she has ever seen.

The 50-year-old said: "We want them to choose a date to quit, usually within two weeks of seeing us, and commit to not having any cigarettes from then.

"We give them nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum and oral mouth spray.

"We usually see them again that week so they can see how much better the baby is being looked after.

"Then we might see them once or twice a week. We are just there to support, we are their cheerleader team.

"The challenge is keeping people motivated to stop.

"Early in the pregnancy women may not feel great, but at 14 to 16 weeks they start feeling better and that can lead them to thinking about having a cigarette.

"That's always a dangerous time. Stress can also make them want a cigarette.

"Nicotine is really additive but we have to motivate them to change their behaviour."

Mother-of-two Michelle said once a smoker quits, withdrawal symptoms often go away within four weeks but getting there can be hard work.

"Lots of women do relapse but we focus on what they can learn from that and encourage them to try again, "Michelle said.

"It doesn't help if their partner smokes as well.

"I went to see one lady whose partner said he smoked 60 cigarettes a day. I spoke to him about passive smoking and the effects on an unborn baby.

"The next week he was smoking outside, instead of in the house, and shortly afterwards he had bought an e-cigarette. So not only did she quit, but he did too.

"When you get a success like that it's really nice.

"We are trying to catch people earlier now. If you can get someone to stop smoking in the first trimester, the risks are virtually the same as for someone who has never smoked."

For more information, or to book an appointment, call Michelle on 07841 807829 or Melissa Davies-Lawrence on 07864 954022, or leave a message on 01952 565732.

Date: 17 May 2018 | Source: Shropshire Star

More Telford News

 Raise a glass to Telford pubs of the past - and those still serving

The Unicorn. Pear Tree Bridge. The Rose and Crown. With 11 pubs in 2.7 mil..

 Cash and a mobile phone stolen as burglars target Telford school

Burglars took cash and a mobile phone during a break-in at a Telford schoo..

 Cult horror, comedies - and coracles - on screen for new Telford Film Festival

From coracles on the Severn to zombie attacks and footballing legends – a ..

 Driver's ‘concentration lapse’ caused motorcyclist's death on A5

A driver whose ‘brief lapse in concentration’ led to the death of a motorc..

 Doreen gets last laugh at Telford Big Top show

Hundreds of people turned out for the last show celebrating Telford's 50th..

 Thanks to Telford life saver as campaign launched to map defibrillators across region

A Telford man today offered his heartfelt thanks to a stranger who saved h..
View More

More UK News

House of Fraser warehouse jobs at risk, union says

The GMB union says 627 staff at two sites run by XPO Logistics are at risk of redundancy

Manchester Arena bomb: Fire chief blames police for delay

Ex-chief fire officer says police did pass on information about the Manchester Arena attack

'Despicable' thieves steal from Salford food bank

Staff reportedly burst into tears after goods worth about £2,500 were stolen from the Salford food b..

John McDonnell calls Lehman Brothers reunion 'sickening'

The collapse of the US investment bank in 2008 was a crucial moment in the financial crisis

Uber and Deliveroo drivers 'more likely to crash'

Drivers and couriers who get their work from apps face a "heightened risk" of crashes, a study sugge..
View More

Telford Businesses

Calendar Countdown

[[countdown here]]

Upcoming Events in Telford

01 Sep 2018

Saturday 3rd September 10.00am to 5.00pm

Sunday September 4th 10.00am to 4.00pm

£5 members and £10 non members. All tickets admit purchaser, partner and two children under 16

View Details

02 Sep 2018

Doors open 2pm
Performance starts 5pm

Adults £17.50, Child 11.00. Family - 2 Adults, 2 Children £49.22.

View Details

22 Sep 2018

9:30am - 5pm


View Details

22 Sep 2018



View Details
View More