New smoking warning to pregnant women in Hampshire

Eric and Maureen Chivers from Emsworth. Eric is heaping praise on the NHS for the superb teatment he recieved when he was in hospital with a serious illness     'Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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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.