Warning to pregnant women on International Nurses Day

Tuesday 10 May 2011, 3:34PM

By AUT University


This week’s International Nurses Day is an opportunity to promote a smoke free environment for unborn babies says senior lecturer in Nursing at AUT University, Grace Wong.

Rather than just cutting back the amount they smoke, pregnant women should be quitting altogether, she says.

International Nurses Day takes place this Thursday 12 May.

“Cutting down the number of cigarettes smoked while pregnant has been shown to make no difference to the baby’s birth weight, however babies whose mothers quit completely have significantly higher birth weights”, says Wong.

“Apart from lower birth weights there are other health concerns associated with smoking during pregnancy. When mothers smoke their babies are exposed to the many toxins in tobacco smoke which can lead to spontaneous abortion.”

International Nurses Day will be held this Thursday 12 May.

Wong, director of Smokefree Nurses Aotearoa/New Zealand at AUT University, says International Nurses Day is also a chance to educate pregnant women on the options available to them.

“Smokers who quit can experience withdrawal with highly distressing symptoms.

“Nicotine replacement therapy helps these symptoms and increases the chance of quitting. Gum or lozenges is safer for pregnant women and their babies than getting nicotine via a cigarette.

“Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. If you smoke, ask a nurse about smoking cessation and fully subsidised nicotine replacement therapy.” 

Smokefree Nurses Aotearoa/New Zealand was set up in 2007 to support nurses to actively help smokers to quit.