60,000 mothers-to-be still smoke while pregnant

60,000 mothers-to-be still smoke while pregnant – as official Government target to reduce the number to 6% is likely to be missed by a decade

  • Almost 60,000 women in England are said to have been smokers when pregnant
  • Progress in reducing number of pregnant smokers has stalled in recent years 
  • Just 37 NHS organisations out of 180 reached the 6 per cent target or lower

The official target of reducing the number of women who smoke in pregnancy to 6 per cent is likely to be missed by a decade, research suggests.

Almost 60,000 women in England are said to have been smokers when they gave birth in the year up to March, 10 per cent of the total number of deliveries.

Risks of a miscarriage are increased by smoking during pregnancy and it can also cause sudden infant death, stillbirth and premature delivery.

The official target of reducing the number of women who smoke in pregnancy to 6 per cent is likely to be missed by a decade, research suggests [File photo]

The Government’s target is to reduce the rate of pregnant smokers to 6 per cent by 2022, but this will only be met between 2030 and 2040, according to data analysed by The Times.

The Lullaby Trust, a charity that highlights sudden infant death syndrome, found that if the 6 per cent target were met by 2022 this could lead to 73 fewer stillborn babies per year, 25 fewer neonatal deaths, 11 fewer sudden infant deaths, 796 fewer premature babies and 2,407 fewer babies born at a low birth weight.

It comes after proposals were revealed this week where women who drink a single glass of wine before they know they are pregnant will have it documented on their child’s medical records.

Progress in reducing the number of pregnant smokers has stalled in recent years and between 2017 and 2018 the total rose.

The 6 per cent target was introduced in 2017. But for the year ending in March, only 37 NHS organisations out of 180 reached the 6 per cent target or lower.

The charity Action on Smoking and Health says one reason why progress to cut the number of pregnant smokers has halted is because women are not referred to specialist stop-smoking services.

Jenny Ward, chief executive of the Lullaby Trust, said: ‘The Government missing its target to reduce rates of smoking among pregnant women will have tragic consequences for families.’ 

Progress in reducing the number of pregnant smokers has stalled in recent years and between 2017 and 2018 the total rose [File photo]

Progress in reducing the number of pregnant smokers has stalled in recent years and between 2017 and 2018 the total rose [File photo]

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