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'More work is needed in Scotland'

Posted: 21 February 2013 by Rob Dabrowski

Nearly a third of Scottish women smoked in pregnancy and there has been a ‘statistically significant decrease’ in breastfeeding to six-weeks, figures show.

The Growing up in Scotland survey shows that 27% smoked in pregnancy - a 2% increase on the previous survey.

However, a further 9% said that they gave up once they realised they were pregnant. This option was not available in the previous survey, which covered 2005/6.

The proportion of women breastfeeding (although not exclusively) to six-weeks was 42%, which is the same figures as the last study.

However, the report says breastfeeding is 'strongly associated with socio-demographic factors', such as education and background.

The authors claim that when the results were adjusted for these factors ‘there was a statistically significant decrease'.   

Gillian Smith, RCM director for Scotland, said the report ‘makes very interesting reading’.

‘It shows there is still a lot to do, for midwives and other health professionals, to improve the health of pregnant women and their babies, in areas such as breastfeeding and smoking in pregnancy,' she said.
‘What it also does is to highlight the invaluable role that midwives can and do play in making Scotland a healthier nation now and for future generations.

‘Midwives can have a great influence in improving the long-term health and lifestyle of women beyond pregnancy.

‘Healthier pregnant mothers also produce healthier babies that grow to be healthier adults with fewer health problems as they age.’

The WHO recommends all children are exclusively breastfed up to six-months, and non-exclusively up to and beyond two years.

The Scottish government target for women non-exclusively breastfeeding is 50%.

The results did show that the number of women avoiding alcohol in pregnancy has increased, rising from 74% to 80%.

The report was commissioned by the Scottish government and carried out by ScotCen Social Research.

Lead author of report and senior research director at ScotCen Paul Bradshaw said: ‘While progress has been made in some areas, in others there is still some way to go.’

To download the PDF of the full report, please click here.