Mum who lost four babies blames herself after refusing to stop smoking 30 a day
A mum-of-two who suffered four miscarriages while smoking throughout her pregnancies says she blames herself.
Jade Rist, 28, said she knew the habit jeopardised her unborn children – but refused to pack it in until she lost her fourth baby.
The mum from Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, smoked 30 cigarettes every day throughout six pregnancies. Only two were successful.
The 28-year-old has now backed an NHS anti-smoking campaign and says she has finally managed to ditch tobacco in preparation for her seventh pregnancy.
According to the NHS, smoking tobacco is not proven to cause miscarriages – but lighting up can increase the overall risk.
Jade said: "I've had a lot of experience of miscarriage and I do believe it is to do with smoking – I always blamed myself."
She continued: "I also had problems with my daughter at birth that could have been caused by having the odd fag.
"Not even doctors can say 100 per cent smoking caused the miscarriages but that has made me more determined to quit.
"It made me realise I needed to do something and just thought smoking is the only thing in my life which is bad.
"I was determined to get pregnant again and it wasn't fair to keep miscarrying – I always blamed myself, but this time I can't."
She decided it was time to quit with the help of an NHS smoke-free home visits adviser after suffering a miscarriage last year.
Jade said: "I have more time for my children.
"I used to go downstairs in the morning and my fag was more important than my children.
"I used to be 'you can wait, I'm going out for a fag', which they don't understand.
"I'm much happier in myself – I always used to be angry because I'm waiting for my next fag or playing less because I'm thinking about my next one."
NHS data found more than 17 per cent of expectant mothers in Thanet, Kent and three other districts smoke during their terms.
While the South Kent Coast has the most amount of smokers, with more than 18 per cent of pregnant mums lighting up.
NHS adviser Claire Stagg 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.
"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.
Jade said she feels this information is vital for mothers to know as it shows how quickly they can help their babies by quitting.
She said: "It's selfish doing it, they didn't ask to be there and they're craving it too. It's hard and you've got to have that will power and no one is going to judge you.
"It's changed things dramatically and we're seeing far more pregnant women since we started home visits than previously."
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