The number of women who smoke while pregnant in Northamptonshire is ‘significantly worse’ than the national average, latest figures reveal.
The figures, officially released yesterday by the director of public health, show that an average of 1,331 women across the county continue to smoke while pregnant, right up to the point of delivery.
In the future the Wellbeing Community Interest Company will deliver stop smoking support services to pregnant womenNorthamptonshire County Council
This amounts to 15.6 per cent of the pregnant population, compared with 12 per cent nationally.
Broken down, the margin for Northampton and many of the individual districts in the county is around three to four per cent, while the figure for Corby alone shows that one in five pregnant women are smoking.
Northamptonshire County Council has a direct responsibility over the figures, which are categorised as ‘significantly worse’ than the national average in the report, but does not provide targeted stop smoking support to pregnant women.
The council has said that it is currently reviewing the way it provides its general Stop Smoking Service, which is delivered by Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (NHFT).
A council spokesman said: “NHFT currently offers a universal service which means that targeted support to pregnant women is not provided.
“This service, along with many other prevention services, are being reviewed as the county council, NHFT and the University of Northampton work together to form a Wellbeing Community Interest Company (CiC).
“This new company will concentrate on delivering prevention services to improve the health and wellbeing of the residents of Northamptonshire and will be created and become operational during 2015.
“In the future the Wellbeing Community Interest Company will deliver stop smoking support services to pregnant women and it will be a key ambition to reduce the number of mothers smoking.”
Part of this plan will include working with groups involved in midwifery as well as stop smoking initiatives to develop a ‘stop smoking in pregnancy pathway’ to identify areas of need for pregnant women and ensure targeted support.
The council spokesman added: “We know from surveys that the major problem for pregnant women who smoke is getting access to the support they need.
“Plans to train members of the Midwifery Support Team to deliver stop smoking support are being developed; this innovative and creative approach would provide a flexible, accessible service for women who currently struggle to stop smoking during pregnancy.”