Midwives welcome drop in smoking rate among pregnant women

on 30 July 2022 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Midwives Wellbeing Of Women Women Smoking Pregnancy NHS NHS Staff NHS England

‘Reducing smoking in pregnancy is a key driver in reducing stillbirth rates’ says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) as it welcomes new figures from NHS England that show a reduction in smoking among pregnant women.

The latest figures show midwives and other smoking cessation NHS staff have helped almost 15,000 mums quit smoking over the past three years. With the smoking rate for pregnant women at the time of birth falling to 9.1% in 2021-22, down from 10.6% prior to 2019.

Clare Livingstone, Professional Policy Advisor at the RCM and public health lead, said:

“Rates of smoking among pregnant women are gradually coming down, which is very positive news. Quitting smoking is one of the best things a woman can do to look after her own and her baby’s health, and reduce the associated risks in pregnancy. Midwives support women and their partners to stop smoking, providing vital information, support and referrals into specialist services. However, maternity services are experiencing significant staff shortages and without sufficient funding, further improvements in smoking rates will be in peril.”

The Khan Report, published last month and which included evidence from the RCM, outlined 15 recommendations to ensure the Government’s national target to be smokefree by 2030 is reached. It also highlighted the impact of smoking in pregnancy, which is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth, miscarriage and sudden infant death syndrome. 

Clare added: “It is vital that services are properly resourced. Making this long term investment now will save lives and promote healthier lifestyles for future generations.”




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