Apparently, it's still acceptable for pregnant women to smoke in Wales. But it won't be for long, thanks to a new government program aimed at encouraging moms-to-be to lead healthier lives for the sake of their fetuses.
The Welsh Assembly Government is planning to unveil a new strategy to provide maternity services promoting healthy eating and smoking cessation. According to the announcement, 37 percent of Welsh moms smoke at some stage during their pregnancy or the year before and 22 percent continue to smoke throughout those nine months.
This is the highest rate of pregnant women smoking in the UK, which also boasts the highest rate of pregnant drinkers.
Call me naive, but I'm shocked to hear that that many women are still smoking, given the undeniable health risks.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, smoking accounts for 20 to 30 percent of low-weight babies, up to 14 percent of preterm deliveries, and 10 percent of infant deaths. Why are women anywhere still smoking?
This must be a real problem in the UK, where health watchdog National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence actually proposed that carbon monoxide tests be performed on every expectant mom at her first prenatal appointment. The organization claimed this was not meant to penalize moms and make them feel guilty, but simply to help them quit smoking.
Hmm ... not that I side with smoking moms, but could you imagine being screened for unhealthy behavior? What if you had a few cigarettes before you even knew you were pregnant? Or drinks? I wouldn't want to be scolded by my doc for a behavior I plan to abandon.
Then again, some moms-to-be may not be able to or want to abandon their unhealthy habits, so I applaud the Welsh government for spending the money to reach out to them.
Do you think it's okay for the government to crack down on smoking moms?
Image via Polina Sergeeva/Flickr