Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

RCM welcomes drop in smoking rates among pregnant women

Reducing smoking in pregnancy is a key driver in reducing stillbirth rates, says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). The latest data from NHS England show that the smoking rate for pregnant women at the time of birth has fallen to 9.1% in 2021-22, down from 10.6% prior to 2019.

Clare Livingstone, Professional Policy Advisor at the RCM, says: “Rates of smoking among pregnant women are gradually coming down, which is very positive news. Quitting smoking is one of the best things a woman can do to look after her own and her baby’s health, and reduce the associated risks in pregnancy.”

Midwives and other smoking cessation NHS staff have helped almost 15,000 mums quit smoking over the past three years. Clare adds: “Midwives support women and their partners to stop smoking, providing vital information, support and referrals into specialist services. However, maternity services are experiencing significant staff shortages and without sufficient funding, further improvements in smoking rates will be in peril.”

The Khan Report, published in June, includes evidence from the RCM. It outlines 15 recommendations to ensure the Government’s national target to be smokefree by 2030 is reached. It also highlights the impact of smoking in pregnancy, which is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth, miscarriage and sudden infant death syndrome.

To read the RCM position statement visit:

To see the NHS England data on women's smoking status at time of delivery, visit:

To read the Khan report visit:

Smoking significantly increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, sudden infant death and birth abnormalities.

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