Hospitals to make pregnant women take smoking test to prevent stillbirths
2 April 2019, 13:29
In 2018 the number of expectant mothers who smoke increased - forcing health officials to take action
NHS hospital staff will soon be asking all pregnant women to take a carbon monoxide test to check if they - or their partners - smoke.
It's thought that one in 10 expectant mothers smoke throughout their pregnancy, which amounts to around 65,000 in England at any one point.
The plan is to prevent cases of stillbirths and other symptoms such as heart defects.
Presently, pregnant women are asked if they smoke but it's believe that many do not admit that they do - but now there will be routine screenings of all pregnant women at 12 weeks and 36 weeks.
If the test shows that the expectant mother is smoking, then they will be offered expert advice on how to quit within 24 hours and will then be tested at every appointment.
Health secretary, Matt Hancock, explained: "The number of women smoking in pregnancy is at a record low, but too many women still suffer the tragedy of a stillbirth as a result of smoking. Today's plans are about our continuing commitment to do everything in our power to address this, by supporting mums-to-be to quit, in pregnancy and for good."
The charity Tommy's claim that about nine babies are stillborn every day, with the risk being 52% higher in women who smoke 10 cigarettes a day.