In her presentation, she outlined the work of the group, covered some of the latest evidence regarding the use of electronic cigarettes, and the evidence appertaining to vaping during pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy remains a priority for the NHS as it’s still the main modifiable risk factor that contributes to a range of poor pregnancy outcomes. Those outcomes including miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight, perinatal morbidity and sudden infant deaths. Linda says that on top of this, children born to smoking mothers are likely to spend more time in hospital and have poor outcomes later in life.
Bauld believes that “pregnancy provides a unique opportunity for women who smoke to stop – and if they can do that successfully, and not relapse after the baby is born, they’re far more likely to remain non-smokers in the long term.”
One tenth of women are known to be smokers when they give birth, according to recent studies, and the rate is higher during early pregnancy. Bauld states that this is of concern because it is higher than in many other countries, and this equates to something in the order of 70,000 babies in England per year.
The Challenge Group has a target of reducing smoking in pregnancy to less than 6% by 2020, and part of the strategy to obtaining this figure is the creation of materials to educate health professionals and offering free carbon monoxide testing.
Currently, by Bauld’s own admission, evidence is lacking for vaping during pregnancy – but there is a substantial bank of data for other adults. She draws the attention of midwives to the Royal College of Physician’s report to highlight the relative safety when compared to smoking and the potential to aid switching away from tobacco products.
Linda gives an exceptionally in depth commentary to what we know about vaping during the 45 minute video. Written resources can be found in the links for midwives, public health professionals and pregnant women.