Stop For Life (Pregnancy Service)

What we offer…

A service specifically for women who are pregnant, have a baby, or are planning a family. Our aim is to provide an accessible friendly service to women and their families across Lothian who want to stop smoking and would like help. The service aims to meet the needs of women and their families by offering support rather than pressure to stop smoking. We aim to see people at a place and time to suit them locally, usually their GP practice or community venue either individually or as part of a group.


How we can help…

  • 1:1, group and telephone support
  • Advice and information on how to successfully stop smoking
  • Advice on nicotine replacement therapy products such as lozenges and gum
  • Ongoing support before during pregnancy and after the baby is born
  • Help and support for your partner, friends and family if they smoke and would like help to stop



Why we would like you to come to us…

  • We are not here to lecture or make you feel guilty
  • We are not here to tell you what to do or force you to stop smoking but will guide and support you
  • We understand how difficult it can be to stop smoking
  • We will listen


The easiest way to get in contact with us is to call your local stop smoking service who can arrange for an individual appointment with one of our advisors at a time and place that would suit you. We encourage women to bring along their partners, family members or friends who may also want to stop smoking or just want to support you in your quit attempt.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) testing in pregnancy

National guidelines recommend that all women are offered Carbon Monoxide (CO) testing in pregnancy. In NHS Lothian all pregnant women will be offered this simple breath test as part of routine screening at their first antenatal appointment.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, toxic gas which is produced when anything burns. It is found in cigarette smoke, faulty gas appliances and vehicle exhaust fumes.

Why am I having my Carbon Monoxide levels checked?

When breathed in, CO is harmful to both mother and baby. It enters the mother’s bloodstream, causing the oxygen level to reduce. It then quickly and easily passes through the placenta into the baby’s bloodstream, causing the baby’s oxygen levels to reduce. This, in turn, makes the baby’s tiny heart beat harder, which slows down growth. The lower oxygen level also harms the placenta, which is vital for your baby’s growth and development. You are therefore having your CO level checked to allow you to see what your level is, and if it is high we can give you advice on ways to lower it.


How is the test done?

The test is done using a CO monitor. It is simple and quick and involves taking a deep breath in then blowing into the monitor. The results are instant.

Why would my reading be high?

Although the most common reason for CO to be found in the breath test is tobacco smoke, either from people around you or your own, it can also come from other sources such as faulty gas appliances.

Now that I have had my test, what does the reading mean?

Your midwife will explain your reading. CO is measured in parts per million (ppm) and your midwife will use a CO measurement table that will show both your reading and your baby’s reading. CO is more dangerous for the baby because he/she is so small and because the baby’s reading will be much higher than yours – in fact it tends to be double.

What’s next?

If your reading is 4 or above, or if you smoke, your midwife will refer you to Stop For Life. This is a specialist service in Lothian that offers CO testing and advice and, where appropriate, offers help and support to stop smoking.

If you are a smoker, it’s important for you to know that the staff at Stop For Life understand it can be difficult to stop smoking. They offer support rather than pressure to stop and are there to help. In fact you are four times more likely to stop with their help.


More information on CO testing in pregnancy can be found below, along with other information on smoking in pregnancy and support materials:

Last Reviewed: 09/09/2014