Mums to be will offered NHS-funded one-to-one support to stop smoking.
Under the NHS Long Term Plan, Mums to be are to be offered NHS-funded one-to-one support to improve their own health and give their newborn babies the healthiest start in life.
The most recent figures show that women in England are amongst the most likely to smoke during pregnancy with 10% still lighting up at the time of their baby’s delivery, which doubles the risk of still birth, substantially increases the likelihood of miscarriage and triples the chances of sudden infant death.
Across the country, there is significant variation in the number of pregnant women who smoke, ranging from 2% in Kensington & Chelsea to over one in five in Blackpool.
Partners of pregnant women will also be encouraged to kick the habit to give new mums the best chance of not smoking again.
Announcing the plans, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said; “Alcohol and tobacco addiction remain two of the biggest causes of ill health and early death, and the right support can save lives.
“Every smoker admitted to hospital will be offered NHS support to quit”.
Smoking cessation specialist midwives are needed.
Sean O’ Sullivan, Head of Health and Social Policy at the Royal College of Midwives said; “The RCM welcomes this announcement in particular the focus on tackling smoking rates during pregnancy. The commitment to fund intensive support for women to stop smoking during pregnancy and to encourage their partners who also smoke to quit is particularly welcome.
“What the RCM would like to see is a major investment in smoking cessation specialist midwives if these plans are to become a reality. In a recent survey conducted by the RCM in which heads of midwifery from across the UK responded it was reported that almost 70 percent of them did not have a smoking cessation specialist midwife in their maternity teams.
“Also, midwives need access to appropriate training and need time off to complete training to become a specialist midwife and we know as our members tell us often maternity services are too short staffed that planned training is postponed far too often as midwives are called back to understaffed labour wards to care for women and their babies.
“While the RCM welcomes these plans we are concerned that health budgets to councils have been cut and as a consequence local authorities who provide smoking cessation services are struggling to meet the demand within local communities in England.
“While the RCM supports this part of the NHS long term plan, the implementation of the entire plan just like the recently announced new maternity package cannot be done on a shoestring – successful implementation of any such plans will need real investment in the recruitment and retention of midwives, in the training of more specialist midwives.”