MAPPED: Manchester mums who refuse to quit smoking for their unborn babies

Mothers across Manchester are among the worst in the country for refusing to give up cigarettes while pregnant, with Tameside and Glossop mums-to-be ranking the worst in the city.

The damning statistics, published on Tuesday by the Health & Social Care Information Centre, show almost 14 in 100 Mancunian mothers are smoking right up until their babies are delivered.

Within Manchester, Tameside and Glossop mums were the worst for having a cigarette while pregnant, with Wigan following a close second. Trafford led the way with only seven in every 100 mothers smoking.

Abbie Paton from the Manchester Stop Smoking service told MM: “Stopping smoking completely is the best thing a pregnant woman can do to protect her own health and that of her baby.

“The sooner a pregnant woman stops smoking, the quicker the risks are reduced. It is never too early to stop – or too late!”

The report looked at figures for the second quarter of 2014, which included statistics between July and September.

Smoking during pregnancy can cause a whole range of health problems for the unborn child.

Ms. Paton told us the dangers can include ‘risks of miscarriage, still-birth, early labour and delivery, under-developed baby and birth abnormalities’.

“Furthermore, the babies of women who did not smoke while pregnant are less likely to need special care once they are born and less likely to miss days at nursery and school through illness as they get older,” she said.

Compared to the national statistics which reveal the rate of pregnant women smoking at 11.5%, Manchester has more than two extra mothers for every hundred who are smoking before their baby is delivered.

Amongst all NHS authorities across the country, the rates varied between a shocking fifth (20.3%) of mothers smoking during pregnancy in Durham, Darlington and Tees to only a twentieth (4.9%) in London.

The figure is dropping, with more mothers abandoning smoking for the sake of their baby’s health. The rate is 0.2% lower than the same quarter last year, and 0.5% lower than the previous year.

THINGS ARE IMPROVING… SLOWLY: 0.2% fewer English mums are smoking than this time last year (©DucDigital, with thanks)

The number of maternities also dropped by 2% on last year’s figures, with 163,185 babies born in England between July and September – over 2,500 babies less than 2013’s birth rate.

Reducing smoking during pregnancy is one of the three national ambitions in the government’s Tobacco Control Plan, which was published back in March 2011.

The plan aims to reduce rates of smoking throughout pregnancy to 11% or less by the end of 2015.

In an average taken over the last four quarters, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale led the city in terms of a reduction of the number of mothers smoking before delivery, at a 3.2% decrease.

Central Manchester, however, observed a marginal increase, with 1.2% more mothers taking up smoking while pregnant.

Anyone thinking of quitting smoking should get in touch with the free Manchester Stop Smoking Service by calling 0161 205 5998, by texting ‘smoke’ and their name to 81025, or via their website.

Image courtesy of Day and Zol, with thanks.

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