Wales has highest rate of smoking during pregnancy in UK

Wales has the highest rate of smoking during pregnancy in the UK which is putting thousands of babies' lives at risk, a health charity has warned. One third of mums-to-be in Wales smoke at some point during their pregnancy.

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Supporting pregnant women giving up smoking 'vital'

The Chief Executive of health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Wales, Elen de Lacy, says it is a "sad fact" that smoking during pregnancy in Wales continues to be considerably above the UK average, but that it is "vital" mums-to-be are given "extra support" to help them give up.

It is a sad fact that Wales continues to have the highest rate of smoking in pregnancy in the whole of the UK.

Giving up smoking is hard on its own but with the added pressures of having a baby it is doubly challenging, which is why extra support is vital for pregnant women to help them give up.

Midwives and health visitors are able to build close relationships with women, at home and in the community, and are often the best placed to support women throughout their pregnancies and afterwards.

– Elen de Lacy, Chief Executive of ASH Wales

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Smoking during pregnancy 'stubbornly high' in Wales

More than 11,000 babies a year are affected by smoking in Wales Credit: PA

Wales has the highest rate of smoking during pregnancy in the UK, which is putting thousands of babies' lives at risk, health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Wales has warned.

One third of mums-to-be in Wales smoke at some point during their pregnancy - considerably higher than the UK average, which lies at just over one quarter - exposing 11,864 unborn babies to harm from tobacco each year.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death); premature birth; low birth-weight and miscarriage.

Maternal smoking is also associated with a range of health problems throughout the baby's life including asthma, birth defects such as cleft lip, ADHD and learning difficulties.

In Wales, one-to-one quit smoking support can be provided to pregnant women by Stop Smoking Wales, but rates remain "stubbornly high". according to ASH Wales.

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