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Must strive to reduce smoking rates amongst pregnant women say midwives on new statistics

8 September, 2016

Must strive to reduce smoking rates amongst pregnant women say midwives on new statistics

Binary Data

New figures* published today by NHS Digital for Q1 2016-17, show the national annual percentage of women recorded as smokers at time of delivery has fallen below the national target.

The figures show that 10.2 per cent of pregnant women were known to be smokers at the time of delivery.  This compares to 10.8 per cent for the most recent quarter (quarter 4, 2015/16) and 10.7 per cent for the same quarter last year.`

Commenting, Sarah Fox, Professional Policy Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This continued reduction is encouraging and shows that we are moving in the right direction.

“Targets to reduce smoking in pregnancy need to be backed up with resources. This includes retention of local authority funding for family based smoking cessation to include pregnant women. We know that women in poverty are more likely smoke so extra help and support needs to be given to these women. This is particularly needed in high smoking areas.

“The evidence about the damage to women and their developing baby from smoking is large and growing, so whilst the fall is welcome we must strive to reduce it even further.  Women who smoke need to know that they are increasing the chances of poor baby growth in the womb and risking their baby being stillborn.

“Health providers should ensure there are enough midwives with the time to offer women support, advice and referral to smoking cessation services.  Continuity of carer is also important so that midwives can develop a trusting relationship with women. This is critical if women are to feel comfortable in talking about issues such as this.

“There is also a need for support services that work with the whole family. It is important for the health of the foetus and babies that the woman is in a smoke free environment. It’s also vital that local authority public health spending on smoking cessation services are maintained”.

*Statistics on Women’s Smoking Status at Time of Delivery, England - Quarter 1, 2016-17 at http://www.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB21552

To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456, or email pressofficer@rcm.org.uk.


Notes to editors

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

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