New smoking warning to pregnant women in Hampshire

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NHS Hampshire is asking pregnant women to consider the effects smoking could have on their unborn babies.

The move comes as the latest research highlights a high risk of abnormalities in children born to mothers who smoke during their pregnancy.

It shows smoking mums-to-be are 26 per cent more likely to give birth to a baby with missing or deformed limbs than non-smoking women.

And they are 28 per cent more likely to give birth to a baby with a cleft lip or palate.

In England and Wales, 17 per cent of mothers still smoke while pregnant, meaning about 120,000 unborn babies are exposed to these potentially-harmful effects and about 3,700 malformed babies are born every year.

Out of the 12,405 babies born in Hampshire in 2010/11, 1,600 of those were to mothers who smoked while pregnant – that’s five per cent lower than the national figure, thanks to the county’s stop smoking support groups.

But it is a figure the NHS wants to reduce further.

For help quitting call the NHS on 0845 602 4663.