Pregnant women in Scotland offered smoking test

Pregnant woman with cigarette
Image caption The health service estimates that almost 20% of woman continue to smoke through their pregnancy

More pregnant woman are trying to give up smoking, according to the Scottish government.

Official figures suggested the number of "quit attempts" rose last year by about 8% to 2,985.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson claimed better education and cessation services were behind the increase.

He said all pregnant women would be offered carbon monoxide monitoring to measure cigarette smoke exposure, to help target support services.

The service, part of the Scottish Patient Safety Maternity Improvement Programme, will be offered to all women in the early stages of pregnancy and will indicate raised levels of exposure to the gas through either smoking or passive smoking.

Midwives could then refer women to stop smoking support services, as well as providing additional care during the pregnancy if required.

According to the health service, smoking 10 or more cigarettes per day during pregnancy doubles the risk of stillbirth.

It says the risk of cot death increases seven-fold when the mother smokes more than 20 a day.

'Motivated to stop'

Mr Matheson said the rise in quit attempts was encouraging.

He said: "We know that giving up smoking is the single best thing anyone can do to improve their health, and for women who smoke during pregnancy, quitting is key to improving the health of both mother and baby.

"We now want to make sure that all pregnant women are offered carbon monoxide testing early in their pregnancy."

He said the Scottish government was funding a midwifery champion for every territorial NHS Health Board.

Scottish government medical advisor Dr Catherine Calderwood: "Women are more motivated to stop smoking during pregnancy than at any other time in their lives yet in Scotland almost a fifth of pregnant women continue to smoke."

She said the government was funding interventions to support women and encourage partners to quit and to offer increased surveillance of the pregnancy if required.

Last month draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommended women were offered carbon monoxide tests during antenatal appointments and given help to quit if levels were too high.

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