MORE than 1,000 babies have been born smoke-free since the roll-out of a county initiative in 2013.

Smokefree Somerset Alliance is celebrating the news as a result of its Mums2Be Smokefree service, which first started as a pilot in 2009 before it was expanded four years later.

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable serious harm in pregnancy, and the service, working with maternity services, has been highly successful in engaging women and partners to quit smoking in pregnancy. 

Midwives refer women to the Somerset County Council funded Mums2Be service and specialist advisors work with them on a one-to-one basis throughout their pregnancy, helping them to quit smoking and stay quit.

Councillor Christine Lawrence, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing at Somerset County Council, said: “Smoking in pregnancy is a major public health challenge and one where we are making good progress.

“It remains one of the few modifiable risk factors in pregnancy.  There are significantly increased risks for the pregnant woman and baby due to smoking and pregnant women who smoke increase their risk of early miscarriage. I would encourage any smoker who is either pregnant or planning to start a family to get support to stop smoking immediately.”

The smoking in pregnancy rate has fallen as a result from over 18 per cent to under 13 per cent, meaning that over 1,000 babies have been born smokefree in the county since the programme started as a pilot in 2009.