1 in 7 new mums who gave birth at Morecambe Bay hospitals smoked during their pregnancy

New figures on smoking during pregnancy.
New figures on smoking during pregnancy.
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One in seven mums who give birth at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust smoked while pregnant, figures reveal.

One in seven mums who give birth at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust smoked while pregnant, figures reveal.

Charity Action on Smoking and Health said smoking during pregnancy can cause stillbirths, miscarriages and birth defects.

The latest NHS data shows 35 out of 255 women said they were smokers at the time they delivered their baby at the trust in January – around 14%.

This is more than twice the 6% target the Government wants trusts to meet by the end of 2022.

It is also higher than the England average – 9% of the 24,443 women who gave birth in January were smokers.

The South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust had the highest rate of smoking mums in the month, at 23%, while the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, both in London, had the lowest at just 1%.

Ciaran Osborne, director of policy at Ash, said: “It is vital that all pregnant smokers get specialist support to help them quit successfully.

“But in too many places, this is not happening. The Government must go further, and faster, if it is to achieve its national target to reduce still birth and neonatal death by half by 2025.”

The Department of Health revealed its Tobacco Control Plan in 2017, which included a target to reduce smoking prevalence among pregnant women from 11% to 6%.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “Smoking rates among pregnant women are at a record low and have been in steady decline since 2010.

“However, this remains a concerning issue, disproportionately affecting women and babies from poorer communities, so we have set an ambition to reduce smoking in pregnancy by a third by 2022.

“As part of our Long Term Plan for the NHS, every smoker admitted to hospital will be offered help to quit – with an emphasis on pregnant women and their partners.”

Michelle Littlejohn, Health and Wellbeing Midwife for UHMBT, said: “We are committed to supporting women to stop smoking during their pregnancy and to increasing awareness with regard to the importance of smoke-free homes.

“The national target is to reduce the number of women who smoke during pregnancy to six per cent by 2022; currently this figure is 10.8 per cent.

“All women cared for within our maternity services are offered carbon monoxide screening in early pregnancy and women who smoke are referred to smoking cessation services.

“Local councils are commissioned to provide these services via Quit Squad in North Lancashire and pharmacies in South Cumbria. Maternity services continue to provide screening and support throughout pregnancy and local guidelines follow national recommendations.

“UHMBT provides all maternity staff who are caring for our pregnant women with annual training with regard to the risks of smoking in pregnancy and the support that is available. We have developed educational recourses to ensure midwives are able to provide women with consistent, evidence based information.

“We support regular public health campaigns with regard to reducing smoking in pregnancy and provide additional information through national and local leaflets “UHMBT is also working collaboratively within the Local Maternity System (LMS) to share learning and resources with the aim of supporting women to stop smoking in pregnancy and improve health outcomes.”