A mother who suffered four miscarriages said she blames herself because she refused to stop smoking while pregnant.
Jade Rist, of Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, has been pregnant six times but only carried two babies to term and believes it is because she kept up her 30-a-day habit while expecting.
The 28-year-old, who has since quit, also believes smoking might have been the reason she experienced complications with her daughter’s birth.
‘I’ve had a lot of experience of miscarriage and I do believe it is to do with smoking,’ she said. ‘I always blamed myself.’
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Jade Rist, pictured, of Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, has been pregnant six times but only carried two babies to term and believes it is because she kept up her 30-a-day habit while expecting
Jade turned to her local NHS Stop Smoking Service and is being supported by a home visit adviser, pictured. Above, Jade measures her carbon monoxide levels with a monitor
Smoking has not been proven to cause miscarriages. However NHS guidance notes a pregnancy is more likely to end in miscarriage if the mother smokes.
Jade acknowledged that doctors cannot say with ‘100 per cent’ certainty that smoking was behind her miscarriages but is convinced they are linked.
She quit before her seventh pregnancy and said she has not experienced problems since.
Jade, pictured at home, acknowledged that doctors cannot say with ‘100 per cent’ certainty that smoking was behind her miscarriages but is convinced they are linked
The mother-of-two has been supported by the NHS, which offers free stop smoking services to expectant mothers. Pictured, Jade with Smoke Free home visit adviser Claire Stagg
‘I was determined to get pregnant again and it wasn’t fair to keep miscarrying,’ Jade said. ‘I always blamed myself, but this time I can’t.’
How smoking affects babies in the womb
When you smoke you breathe in more than 4,000 chemicals from the cigarette. The smoke goes from your lungs into your bloodstream. That blood flows to your placenta and umbilical cord, right into your baby’s tiny body. This causes your baby to struggle for oxygen.
One of the chemicals found in cigarettes is carbon monoxide, a dangerous chemical that gets into your bloodstream.
This restricts the supply of oxygen that’s essential for your baby’s healthy growth and development. This causes your baby’s tiny heart to pump even harder.
The NHS offers specialist free support to help expectant mothers stop smoking in pregnancy.
Jade turned to her local NHS Stop Smoking Service and is being supported by a home visit adviser.
Jade said she also has more time for her children since she stopped smoking.
She said: ‘I used to go downstairs in the morning and my cigarette was more important than my children.
‘I’m much happier in myself. I always used to be angry because I’m waiting for my next cigarette or playing [with them] less because I’m thinking about my next one.’
NHS adviser Claire Stagg has been on hand to support Jade.
Claire highlighted the continued risk cigarettes pose to babies and young children.
She said: ‘We know second and third-hand smoke result higher incidents of illness in children, lower immune system, eczema, asthma and ear problems.
‘Even when smoking at a window, the smoke is pushed into your home and settles on the floor and sofa and that’s where we put baby, so they’re picking up those chemicals from the smoke.
NHS adviser Claire Stagg has been on hand to support Jade, pictured together. Claire highlighted the continued risk cigarettes pose to babies and young children
‘We’re talking about this so much more and mums are told this when they leave hospital which didn’t happen a couple of years ago.’
Studies have revealed the links between second-hand smoke and behavioural issues children suffer, including autism and ADHD.
Evidence has shown quitting smoking benefits a baby’s health within 24 hours as carbon monoxide in smoke leaves the mother.