Smoking tests for all pregnant women say health experts

Mums-to-be should be breath tested to see if they’ve been smoking so the NHS can help them quit

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The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has suggested that all pregnant women should have anti-smoking breath tests by their midwives in a bid to decrease the numbers of smoking mums-to-be.

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NICE believes that all pregnant women should be tested for levels of carbon monoxide in their system at their first antenatal appointment. If necessary, midwives will then be urged to provide them with advice on how to quit.

“Our recommendation is for midwives to encourage all pregnant woman to have their carbon monoxide levels tested,” says Professor Mike Kelly from NICE. However, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have raised concerns.

“It is crucial for health practitioners to focus on being supportive rather than making women feel guilty, or as though they have not been truthful,” Sue Macdonald from the RCM has said.

However, Rosie Dodds from the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) is more positive. “We welcome these guidelines as long as they are offered to women in a positive, and non-judgemental way. As long as women are listened too, they could be offered as supportive intervention. Any measure that helps women to give up smoking can only be a good thing for them and their baby.”

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