BREATH-TEST PLAN FOR MUMS-TO-BE; Shock Statistics Show That Locally 1 in 5 Pregnant Women Smoke despite the Risks to Unborn Child

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Byline: By Sian Powell

MUMS-TO-BE in Nuneaton, Bedworth and north Warwickshire are to be breathalysed for smoking by midwives in a bid to protect unborn babies.

Shockingly, more than one in five women in the area still smokes during pregnancy.

Statistics show 21.5 percent of pregnant women smoke locally, much higher than the national average of 17percent.

A simple breath test will detect the levels of the dangerous chemical carbon monoxide in their system.

High levels of carbon monoxide can harm a baby's development and even cause miscarriage.

The chemical is most often found in smokers or people who spend time in smoky places.

Jane Wright, Warwickshire Primary Care Trust's stop smoking service manager, said: "Research shows that women who smoke are less likely to carry their babies full-term, with a 26 per cent increased risk that they will miscarry or experience a stillbirth.

"The test is a way to help mothers do all they can to ensure a healthy start in life for their baby.

"We hope that by offering free help and support as well as nicotine replacement products such as patches and gum to pregnant women, more of them will be encouraged to stop and to make their home a smoke-free baby-friendly zone. …