Pregnancy smoking test suggested

A woman smoking Smoking harms pregnant women and unborn babies

Related Stories

All pregnant women should be tested for smoking so that they can be given quitting advice if necessary, a health watchdog says.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said carbon monoxide tests should be carried out on every expectant mother.

If implemented, every woman would have the breath test at her first ante-natal appointment.

Midwives criticised the test, saying it could make the women feel "guilty".

NICE said the guidelines were not aimed at penalising smokers but were designed to help women and their families give up smoking during and after pregnancy.

"During pregnancy, smoking puts the health of the women and her unborn baby at great risk both in the short and long-term, and small children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer from respiratory problems," Professor Mike Kelly, Nice director of the centre of public health excellence, said.

"One of our recommendations is for midwives to encourage all pregnant women to have their carbon monoxide levels tested and discuss the results with them.

Start Quote

Use of the monitor has the potential to make women feel guilty and not engaged. ”

End Quote Sue Macdonald Royal College of Midwives

"This isn't to penalise them if they have been smoking, but instead will be a useful way to show women that both smoking and passive smoking can lead to having high levels of carbon monoxide in their systems."

The guidelines were welcomed by the Royal College of Midwives, but it urged "non-judgemental" support for women smokers.

RCM education and research manager Sue Macdonald said: "There appears to an emphasis on pregnant women, which is appropriate given the evidence. However, the key issue here for NICE is their emphasis on the monitor.

"It is crucial that health practitioners, including midwives, focus on being supportive rather than making women feeling guilty, or as though they may not be truthful.

"Use of the monitor has the potential to make women feel guilty and not engaged. We need to look at a range of individualised interventions for women that meet their needs and aspirations."

The cost of the monitors also raised concerns for the RCM, as well as safety, infection control, and "whether this is the best use of funds to address smoking cessation," she said.

More on This Story

Related Stories

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Yahoo! UK and Ireland Health watchdog's proposals slammed - 23 hrs ago
FOXNews.com Group Proposes to Test Moms-to-Be for Smoking - 23 hrs ago
Daily Express Man jailed for urging PM killings - 27 hrs ago
Scottish Sun Today On The Jon Gaunt Show. 11:44 - 27 hrs ago
The Scotsman Pregnancy breath test call - 28 hrs ago

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Health stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • SkeletonRobot skeleton

    BBC Future discovers how a pair of bionic legs helped get Daniel Fukuchi back on his feet

Programmes

  • Three men solving a puzzleThe Travel Show Watch

    Why tourists are heading to the Hungarian capital Budapest for the chance to break out of a room

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.