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- Provincial Workshop by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario Provides Tips on How Health-Care Providers Can Encourage Smoke-Free Pregnancies -

(HALIBURTON COUNTY) – The importance of smoke-free pregnancies seems like a pretty simple and straightforward message.

However, encouraging women to change their behaviour can be a challenge. And that’s why nurses and other health-care providers from across Ontario – including midwives, lactation consultants, addiction counsellors, social workers, community health workers, youth workers and others who work with women and families – will gather in Haliburton County later this month to learn the best ways to address tobacco use among women and families.

The Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit is hosting the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) Best Practice Champions for Smoke-Free Pregnancies workshop on September 25, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, at the Pinestone Resort (County Road 21). The event is available at no cost to participants who will also receive resources for pre and postnatal women, as well as “Quit Kits,” People who want to attend the event can register by clicking here.

“While the risks of tobacco use are well-known, it remains one of the most difficult behaviours to change,” says Dearbhla Lynch, a workshop organizer and a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “That’s why we’re pleased to be partnering with RNAO to bring this workshop to Haliburton. It’s an opportunity to highlight the best practices and new resources that nurses and health-care providers can use to support pregnant women and new mothers who are tobacco-dependent.”

Katherine Wallace, a Registered Nurse and RNAO’s Program Manager for Smoking Cessation, adds: “Supporting a woman to either cut down on the number of cigarettes she smokes or quit altogether is one of the best things she can do for her health and to decrease the risk of pregnancy complications. Health-care providers play a pivotal role in promoting smoking cessation through counseling strategies and possessing the knowledge about effective measures to help women quit smoking.”

Approximately 13 to 27 per cent of women use tobacco during pregnancy, says Lynch. According to the Network for the Prevention of Gestational and Neonatal Exposure to Tobacco Smoke (Pregnets) website, the amount of food and oxygen passed to the baby is reduced because of the carbon monoxide in cigarettes. As a result, babies of women who smoke tend to weigh less and may have less developed organs such as the brain or lungs. A baby who weighs less is more likely to have health complications and have to stay in the hospital longer.

Lynch says the majority of expectant and new mothers want to quit smoking. “As this workshop will show, it’s important to build on a woman’s willingness to quit by promoting the benefits of smoke-free living for her and her baby,” she says. “By giving women the support, confidence and motivation they need, the chances of quitting are that much better.”

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For more information, contact:

Dearbhla Lynch, Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 324-3569, ext. 2204,

or Katherine Wallace, Smoking Cessation Program Manager, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, (416) 907-7957.

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«January 2019»