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Healthy pregnancy

Hands of pregnant woman on her abdomen during visit to obstetrician

Link patients to programs and supportive websites and Apps that will support patients to maintain a healthy weight and to stop smoking during pregnancy.

Get Healthy in Pregnancy is a free and confidential phone-based service which can help to support patients to eat healthy foods, get active and stay active, achieve healthy weight gain in pregnancy and abstain from drinking alcohol. 

About

Qualified health coaches will support patients during and after their pregnancy to:

  • eat healthy
  • get active and stay active
  • have a healthy weight gain during pregnancy
  • assist you after you have your baby to get back to your best health
  • abstain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Referral

For more information go to gethealthynsw.gov.au or phone 1300 806 258.

Health professionals can refer patients to Get Healthy in Pregnancy at gethealthynsw.com.au/health-professionals/

For local support contact Yvonne Muyambi. Email: yvonne.muyambi@health.nsw.gov.au

Smoking is the most important preventable cause of adverse outcomes in pregnancy. Pregnancy is a window of opportunity for health professionals to help smokers quit. Women are motivated to protect their baby’s health, and quitting smoking during pregnancy reduces the risk of complications.

To protect the mother and their baby, smoking should be addressed at every visit. The priority should be to avoid the damaging chemicals found in tobacco smoke by quitting smoking.

  • Behavioural counselling is recommended as the first-line treatment.
  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can be offered, if the patient is unable to quit without it.

Nicotine replacement therapy

  • NRT products are still safer than smoking. When used correctly they have less nicotine than tobacco, plus they don’t contain the harmful, cancer-causing substances found in tobacco smoke.
  • The preferred approach is intermittent (non-regular) use of oral NRT products such as nicotine gum or lozenges, as you can control the dose.
  • The effect of NRT in pregnancy is not well understood. There may still be risks associated with this quit method, but it is a much safer option compared to continued smoking.

Types of NRT

Used properly, NRT can make a big difference in helping people to stop smoking successfully. There are videos that help to explain how to use the different forms of NRT.

NRT when breastfeeding

If you’re client is breastfeeding, the woman might be wondering whether NRT products will have an effect on their baby.

  • Nicotine from smoking or NRT can be passed on through breast milk.
  • If the woman is finding it hard to quit smoking using other methods, NRT will still be a better option compared to continued smoking.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

Health professionals should check for updated Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listings.

  • Nicotine patches (eg 25 mg/16 hours, 15 mg/16 hours, 5 mg/16 hours, 21 mg/24 hours, 14 mg/24 hours, 7 mg/24 hours) are listed on the PBS for use as an aid to quitting for people who participate in a support and counselling program. The subsidised patches are not available at the same time as other PBS-subsidised smoking cessation therapies (ie varenicline, bupropion), but those who are unsuccessful at quitting using the nicotine patches are able to access PBS-subsidised medicines during that same 12-month period.
  • Oral forms of NRT subsidised on the PBS are gum and lozenges for use as the sole PBS-subsidised therapy.
  • This means combination NRT is not currently PBS subsidised.
  • Under PBS rules, a maximum 12 weeks of PBS-subsidised.
  • NRT is available per 12-month period.
  • All forms of NRT are available over the counter in pharmacies and supermarkets in Australia.

Quit for you, quit for two App

The Quit for You – Quit for Two App is specifically designed to help people who are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, and want to quit smoking.

The App can help take your mind off the cravings with fun exercises and games and can distract you when you get the urge to have a smoke. The App includes:

  • quit tips on dealing with cravings
  • bouncing baby game
  • baby boogie game
  • baby bubble game
  • baby name selector
  • breathing yoga exerciser
  • week-by-week facts about your baby’s development
  • daily savings announcements based on money not spent on smoking.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) screening breath test (commonly called a smokerlyzer) is a good tool to use with clients who smoke. The smokerlyzer can detect if clients have been exposed to unsafe levels of CO from smoke or other sources, including faulty cooking and heating appliances.

More information is available on how to use a smokerzlyer:

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