THE fight is on to stop all pregnant women smoking in Wigan borough, say health chiefs.
The battle lines were drawn after latest figures showed a slight increase over the past year,
The 2012 Health Profile report identified that smoking in pregnancy had increased from 18.6 per cent in 2011 to 19.8 in 2012 – one of the only health indicators to see a rise.
The national average is 13.7 per cent.
Wigan’s Director of Public Health, Dr Kate Ardern has said that there has been a great deal of success since the figures were collated, but more needs to be done.
She said: “Last year we successfully helped 45 per cent of pregnant smokers to quit for good, which is great, but any mother to be smoking at any stage of pregnancy is one too many.
“We have some great ways of helping and identifying smoking during pregnancy in the borough and every single mum to be is offered help.
“Our midwifery team at Wigan Infirmary check carbon dioxide levels and if they are, we then offer a range of services. For example if they do smoke we offer them as much support as they need, but can also help them in other ways.
“Their carbon dioxide levels could be high through a partner smoking and second hand smoke so we can offer advice and help for this. Stress and anxiety can play a part in smoking so we try to get to the bottom of the reasons for smoking to help them quit.
“Also, Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) budgets are affected by things such as smoking in pregnancy so it is an added incentive for the midwifery team to intervene and help mothers to be quit.
“Our data capture in Wigan in terms of smoking during pregnancy is some of the best in the country so we are identifying as many pregnant smokers as possible and trying to help them. Reducing smoking for people of all ages remains a high priority for Wigan’s Health and Wellbeing Board.”
If you are worried about smoking during pregnancy or want some advice either contact your GP or visit www.alwhealthchamps.nhs.uk/local-services/smoking/