1 in 8 pregnant women in Sandwell and West Birmingham put their unborn babies at risk

Text size:

Hundreds of women were recorded as smoking during pregnancy in Sandwell and West Birmingham last year, figures reveal. Ahead of No Smoking Day, 11 March, the local NHS is highlighting all the NHS support available to pregnant women to help them quit smoking.

NHS Digital data* shows 12 per cent of mums who gave birth between April and September 2019 in the Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG area were smokers – representing 414 out of the 3,600 maternities recorded during that time. This is above the 10.4% national average for mothers who smoke at the time of delivery.

As well as being a leading cause of cancer, smoking during pregnancy causes health problems for women and can even result in the death of their babies. Smoking can also lead to babies having complications in adulthood as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

When pregnant women stop smoking, both mother and baby will feel the benefits immediately. Carbon monoxide and other chemicals will quickly leave the body. This means that there'll be more oxygen in the blood, making mother and baby much healthier.

Dr Ian Sykes, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham said:

“Having a baby in this country is now safer than ever but smoking while carrying a baby puts both mum and child at avoidable and potentially deadly risk. So, quitting smoking is vital for a healthy mum and a healthy baby.

“The risks of smoking during pregnancy are serious, from premature delivery to increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or sudden infant death. No matter what stage women are in their pregnancy, it's never too late to stop smoking. It can be difficult, but smoking is much more harmful to the baby than any stress quitting may bring.”

The NHS offers specialist free support to help women stop smoking in pregnancy. Free help and advice is available by calling the Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044. Women can also register with Smokefree at https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/smoking-in-pregnancy. Start4Life at https://www.nhs.uk/start4life also has lots of helpful tips and advice for a healthy pregnancy.