EVERY pregnant woman will be asked to take a smoking test to see if they or their partner smoke in a bid to stop mums-to-be sparking up.
The new carbon monoxide tests will be carried out by medics in NHS hospitals from July in a bid to cut the number of stillbirths in the UK.
Getty – Contributor All pregnant women will undergo carbon monoxide tests at 12 and 36 weeks from July to see if they smoke, or if their partner smokes, in the hope of helping them quit to lower the number of stillbirths
Midwives and doctors will screen all pregnant women at 12 weeks and 36 weeks.
Currently, more than one in ten expectant mums smoke throughout their pregnancy — equivalent to 65,000 in England alone.
But because they’re only asked if they smoke instead of being tested, many mums-to-be don’t admit their habit to docs.
The hope is that the new tests will identify more women smoking while pregnant so they can be given specialist help to quit within 24 hours.
Smoking can be very dangerous during pregnancy and has been linked to stillbirths and heart defects, as well as other medical problems.
Even second-hand smoke can damage the health of a child — but the new test will be able to find out if the pregnant woman’s partner smokes and if they live in a smoke-free household.
Some hospitals already offer smoking tests at 12 weeks, but now all of them will be made to carry out tests at 12 and 36 weeks.
The NHS hopes this will help cut stillbirths by 50 per cent by 2025.
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Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, told The Times: “The number of women smoking in pregnancy is at a record low, but too many women still suffer the tragedy of stillbirth as a result of smoking.
“Today’s plans are about our continuing commitment to do everything in our power to address this, by supporting mums-to-be to quit, in pregnancy and for good.”
Simon Stevens, chief Executive of NHS England, added: “Stillbirth is heartbreaking, which is why the NHS, through the skill and professionalism of our midwives, nurses and doctors, is taking actions to ensure an even greater number of parents and babies experience a healthy birth.”
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