The London Evening Standard

Breath tests for mothers to warn of smoking risk to unborn babies.

 

HEALTH IMPACT: mIDWIFE lOGAN VAN lessen with co check baby

HEALTH IMPACT: mIDWIFE lOGAN VAN lessen with co check baby

Pregnant women in London will undergo breath tests to reduce the risk from smoking and traffic pollution to hundreds of unborn children.

The Whittington is understood to be the first hospital trust in the capital to breath-check mothers-to-be. Midwives will offer the test to all mothers using the CO Check Baby. Figures show that maternal smoking is to blame for more than 2,000 premature births and 5,000 miscarriages every year in the UK. The aim of breath checks is also to detect the hidden harms of second-hand smoke and traffic pollution on unborn children.

Those who do smoke or have a high carbon monoxide reading will be given help to quit or advice on the dangers of passive smoking. Consultant midwife Logan Van Lessen said the aim was not to “preach” but to educate women and to get them support to quit.

The pilot will run for six months and it is hoped other trusts will adopt the tests. Ms Van Lessen told the Standard: “We know people don’t tell us the truth about smoking but this isn’t about preaching to women. It’s about having a conversation about smoking behaviour and debunking myths. Pregnant women spend more time at home which means more time with family members smoking around them.”