The alarm bells are ringing at Queensland Health after latest data shows that the percentage of Queensland women who are smoking during pregnancy is above the national average.
Executive Director of Queensland Health’s Preventative Health Branch Kaye Pulsford says while there was a steady decline in the number of mothers-to-be who smoked, the statistics are concerning.
Ms Pulsford is urging women who are pregnant and those considering enrol now in a free tailored quit program for expecting mothers and their partners.
“Smoking cessation interventions are a routine part of antenatal care in Queensland to help expecting mothers throughout their quit journey. While many women want to quit smoking, especially during pregnancy, the journey can be both challenging and confronting.”
The latest figures show 12.4 per cent of women in Queensland smoked at some time during pregnancy – this is above the national average of 10.4%. Rates are higher in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Ms Pulsford says the free quit programs are a must for would be mothers and those expecting.
“Numerous studies have shown smoking during pregnancy can lead to a range of complications, including an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth and unexpected death in infants – just to name a few. There is no safe level of smoking – the more cigarettes you smoke while pregnant, the more harm you do to yourself and your baby.”
“Queenslanders are also encouraged to call Quitline – a free and confidential call service, available 7 days a week – which supported more than 360 pregnant women in 2017.”