Workers in Children’s Centres and Early Year Settings will come into contact with pregnant women and new mums. Protecting a baby from tobacco smoke is vitally important to give the child a healthy start in life.
Nationally 10.6% of pregnant women still smoke and in Devon this figure is 12.3%. Smoking in pregnancy can restrict the essential oxygen supply to the unborn baby and cause the baby’s heart to work much harder – this can increase risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Smoking during pregnancy has been found to increase infant mortality by about 40%. Smoking in pregnancy can also increase the likelihood of preterm birth and low birth weight – both of which have have been linked to serious longer term health problems including asthma.
Stopping at any stage during the pregnancy will have a positive effect on the unborn baby but stopping smoking early almost entirely prevents damage to the baby.