Smoking and pregnancy
‘Smoking during pregnancy can cause serious pregnancy-related health problems. These include complications during labour and an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, low birth weight and sudden unexpected death in infancy.’ This was cited recently in a Health and Social Care Information Centre report (HSCIC, 2016: 5), showing that in 2015/16 in England, 10.6% of women giving birth were recorded as smokers at the time of delivery. The prevalence was 15.1% in 2006/07 and 11.4% in 2014/15.
Although Louise Silverton, director of midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said it was ‘positive’ to see this reduction in smoking prevalence rates, she highlighted the importance of retaining local authority funding for family-based smoking cessation to include pregnant women. Silverton added: ‘We know that women in poverty are more likely [to] smoke so extra help and support [must] be given.’ According to the Department for Communities and Local Government (2015): ‘Middlesbrough, Knowsley, Kingston upon Hull, Liverpool and Manchester are the local authorities with the highest proportions of neighbourhoods among the most deprived in England.’ So it is, perhaps, unsurprising that the HSCIC (2016) report found that smoking prevalence ranged from 16% in the North West and North East of England to 4.9% in London.
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