New ‘GUS’ program to help pregnant women give up smoking


Pregnant women or women intending to become pregnant who wish to give up smoking can get help from a new Health Service program.

The ‘GUS’ – Give Up Smoking for Mums, Bubs and Families – program aims to reduce the rates of smoking in pregnant women who attend the Broken Hill Hospital for antenatal and postnatal care. The program is funded through a grant from the Cancer Institute of NSW.

“For a smoking cessation in pregnancy program to be successful, support education and resources need to be provided not only to the pregnant woman, but also her partner and other immediate household members,” said Melissa Cumming, Director Cancer Services Far West LHD.

“This will improve the health of the unborn baby, and then the health of the baby and whole family after the birth. Pregnancy provides a window of opportunity to assist the mother who is motivated to ensure their baby is as healthy as possible and to prevent complications with preterm births,” she said.

Women who wish to give up smoking are referred to a smoking cessation clinic run by a trained staff member in partnership with the midwifery team. The pregnant women (and their partners or members of their immediate household) are provided with counselling, education, free nicotine replacement therapy, and ongoing support to quit smoking.

“It builds on the brief intervention already provided by services, but provides a holistic model including motivational interviewing and follow-up support in acknowledgment that addition psycho-social support is required for sustained smoking cessation,” said Ms Cumming.

The program hopes to further build staff capacity and partnerships to reduce the rates of smoking in pregnant women in a sustainable way by engaging women before pregnancy, during ante-natal and post-natal visits, at childbirth, and for on-going follow-up at Child and Family Health Clinic and GP practices.

Melissa McInnes, the GUS counsellor said: “Since the clinics commenced in late October 2014, 12 women and two partners have been receiving support to quit smoking during pregnancy. It is great that these people are motivated to give their baby a healthy start to life, as well as improve their own health and the health of their family”.

A public launch of the GUS program and a morning tea will be held on Friday 6 March at 10am in the courtyard in the Broken Hill Maternity Unit.

For more information about the GUS program contact the Maternity Unit on 8080 1386.

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