Better for baby

Data shows quitting smoking helps mothers go to full term.
Data shows quitting smoking helps mothers go to full term.

MORE women are carrying their babies to full term since the smoking ban, a new report claims.

The study, conducted by Glasgow university, says that more women are carrying their babies to full term since smoking was outlawed.

The research, led by professor Jill Pell in the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the uni, looked at statistics for preterm delivery and gestational age in 716,941 single-baby births before and after the introduction of the ban in March 2006.

Researchers found that the number of mothers who smoked fell from 25.4 per cent to 18.8% after the ban.

They also found a decrease of more than 10% in overall preterm deliveries, a 5% fall in the number of children born small for gestational size and an 8% drop in babies born very small for gestational size.

Dr Pell said: “These findings add to the growing evidence of the wide-ranging health benefits of smoke-free legislation and support the adoption of such legislation in other countries which have yet to implement smoking bans.

“These reductions occurred both in mothers who smoked and those who had never smoked.

“While survival rates for preterm deliveries have improved over the years, infants are still at risk of developing long-term health problems so any intervention that can reduce the risk of of preterm delivery has the potential to produce important health benefits”.

Researchers concentrated on data for newborns between January 1996 and December 2009 taken from the Scottish Morbidity Records which collected data on all women discharged from Scottish maternity hospitals – including maternal and infant characteristics, obstetric history, clinical management and pregnancy complications.

The information also covered postcode details and allowed socioeconomic factors to be incorporated.

Dr Pell continued: “Irrespective of legislation, many women quit smoking when pregnant because of concerns regarding their infant’s health – and there has been increase awareness of the need to protect children from exposure to tobacco smoke.

“The potential for tobacco control legislation to have a positive effect on health is becoming increasingly clear”.