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Monday, 22 September 2014

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Revealed: Cumbrian mums who smoke through pregnancy

New figures show more than one in 10 new mums in Cumbria is smoking during pregnancy.

The figures showed 174 young mothers were smoking at the time of giving birth – around one in eight.

The figures, published yesterday and covering the end of 2013, are down on 2012, when more than 15 per cent of mums in the county were found to be smoking.

They came ahead of today’s national No Smoking Day, and the British Heart Foundation said around 23 per cent of all adults in Carlisle smoke, slightly above the 20 per cent national average.

The pregnancy figures, published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre and provided by NHS Cumbria, show that of the 1,248 new mums in the third quarter of 2013/14, 13.9 per cent were smoking.

Experts believe the falling trend reflects local efforts to drive home the message that smoking during pregnancy can cause serious harm.

Su Sear, a senior public health improvement strategist, said evidence suggested a number of miscarriages were down to smoking.

“One in five of the babies who end up in a hospital’s high dependency unit after special care will be there because of smoking,” she said.

“We have done a lot of hard work in Cumbria and have bought a CO2 monitor, which will mean that midwives can offer to check every single mother. It will show them how much their baby is being affected by what is effectively passive smoking.”

She said smoking affected the size of babies and that having smaller babies did not mean births were easier.

“That’s a myth that has to be challenged,” she said. “It doesn’t mean an easier birth and the longer term effects for an underweight baby are bad.

“Babies born to a mother who smokes are more likely to be premature, have decreased lung function, and be poorly developed because they’ve not been able to take as much oxygen from the mother because of the CO2.”

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