12.7% of pregnant women are smokers in england

12.7% of pregnant women are smokers in england

Although the number of women in England who are smokers when they give birth has dropped over the last five years, at 12.7% the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) says the figure is still too high.

In the North East of England, nearly one in five women (19.7%) who gave birth in 2012-2013 classed themselves as smokers on the day their baby was born, says a new reported titled "Statistics on Women's Smoking Status at Time of Delivery". The HSCIC publishes a report every quarter and also provides an annual picture that can be compared to the year 2006-2007.

The authors added that the North East has had the highest pregnancy smoking rates in the country for the last six years.

Out of 122,320 women who were asked about their smoking status on the day they delivered their baby in London in 2012-2013, about 1 in 17 (5.7%) said they were regular smokers. London had the lowest rate in the country.

Blackpool PCT (Primary Care Trust) reported that 30.8% of women were smokers during pregnancy, the highest smoking prevalence for any PCT. Westminster had the lowest, at 2.3%.

According to the latest figures, the number of women in England smoking at the time of delivery has fallen every year since 2006-2007.

From March 2012 to March 2012 in England:

  • Out of 658,100 maternities, 12.7% (83,490) were smokers compared to 13.2% (87,640 out of 664,690 maternities) the year before.
  • In 2007-2008, out of 634,040 maternities, 91,570 (14.4%) were smokers
Alan Perkins, HSCIC Chief Executive said:

"Today's figures show that while fewer pregnant women are smoking across England, mothers in the North East have been top of the smoker's prevalence table for six years running.

Today's report is crucial for addressing those regions and PCTs where the rates of smoking during pregnancy are particularly high and are likely to alert local-level health professionals."

Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to several mental and physical health problems for the offspring, including:

  • A higher risk of obesity and gestational diabetes for the daughter later in life
  • A higher risk of birth defects
  • The child is more likely to have behavioral problems at the age of 3 years
  • A greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Cot Death) for the baby
  • A higher risk of persistent asthma during childhood
  • The baby's (and mother's) thyroid function may be impaired
  • The newborn is more likely to have heart defects
  • Low baby birthweight
  • The daughter's fertility may be harmed

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Section Issues On Medicine: Women health