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Hettie’s hero

6 March 2020

Jo Treharne finds out how One You Smokefree advisor Liz Miller helped mum Jes Chapman quit smoking for the sake of her baby.

First-time mum Jes Chapman, 28, was determined to quit smoking during her pregnancy after receiving shocking news during a routine midwife appointment.

“I didn’t see my midwife, Tracey, until I was around 12 weeks pregnant as I didn’t actually know I was pregnant until quite late,” explained Jes, who lives in Dover with her partner Matt.

“During the booking-in process Tracey told me she needed to do a breath test to measure the amount of carbon monoxide – a poisonous chemical that’s found in cigarette smoke – in my bloodstream.

“As a smoker, my reading was nine parts per million (ppm), which is the usual level for someone smoking between five and 10 cigarettes a day – but Tracey explained that for an unborn baby, the risk is doubled, so her reading would be 18ppm.”

All women are now routinely offered a carbon monoxide reading when booking in with a midwife.

Jes said: “I felt absolutely awful, so guilty. It’s not nice to know that you’ve been subjecting your unborn child to a horrible poison, which could affect their health.

“When Tracey told me I could get a referral for a smokefree advisor to come to my home and support me to quit, I was really happy to hear I could get help.

“Home visits were absolutely perfect for me as they were completely flexible and fitted around my work shifts, as well. I also have issues around anxiety so I wouldn’t have coped with a group setting.”

One You Smokefree advisor Liz Miller visited Jes at home each week for around eight weeks, during which she gave her advice and support to go smokefree. Liz said: “At first Jes was anxious about her quit attempt and not hugely confident that she would be able to do it, but after listening to the implications about what happens to babies who are subjected to carbon monoxide, she was more determined.

“It was made much easier by partner, Matt, who is a non-smoker and who was really supportive.” Jes said: “At first I tried an inhalator to help with the cravings but I didn’t like it so I switched to patches, before finally quitting nicotine completely. “I really couldn’t have done it without Liz’s support and guidance, she was amazing. Baby Hettie was born in March 2019 and is healthy and well.”