Slight fall in mums-to-be who smoke in Notts
SMOKING rates among pregnant women in Notts have fallen slightly – although health professionals say they remain too high with almost a fifth of mums-to-be struggling to kick the habit.
Latest figures for the third quarter of 2012-13 show that 1,524 pregnant mums in the county – 17.3 per cent – were smokers at the time of giving birth. The national average is 13 per cent.
At the same stage last year the smoking rate among mums-to-be was 17.8 per cent, and experts described the slight fall as "positive".
Lynne McNiven, consultant for public health, Nottingham City said: "The latest figures should be welcomed, although this is still higher than it should be. We expect to see numbers fluctuate to some extent, but the positive news is a long-term sustained decline in the number of women smoking during pregnancy, although there is still work to do.
"We are working hard to reduce the number of mothers smoking throughout pregnancy and have a number of free services to support them.
"The percentage of women who smoke during pregnancy in Nottingham city has decreased from 25.5 per cent in 2003-4 to around 18.5 per cent in 2011-12."
Both Nottingham and the rest of the county are in the bottom third for pregnancy smoking rates when compared to all the other primary care trusts in the country.
Blackpool is the worst, with 29.7 per cent of women smoking when pregnant. The lowest is Westminster at 2.9 per cent.
Dr McNiven added: "Stopping smoking isn't easy but the specialist New Leaf service can help and offers free, non-judgemental support to women who want to quit. Ask your midwife for more details, call 0800 561 2121 or text the word 'NEW' to 80800."
Indu Hari, health improvement manager for New Leaf, said: "However small the drop, this is still good news."
Dr Lucy Kean, consultant obstetrician with Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, said: "We have still a way to go and are definitely not there.
"The risk of you having a baby that is smaller than it should be, premature, or even stillborn, is significantly higher if you smoke."
In an effort to drive down smoking rates in mums, midwives have been given carbon monoxide testers, which involve pregnant women blowing into a bag to measures levels of the gas in their blood.
They will test for carbon monoxide at three points, at booking, at 16-18 weeks and at 34 weeks.
This is done with a breath test which gives a reading of the level of carbon monoxide in the breath.