Surprisingly, even with all of the damaging research on what smoking does to you, a new government study shows that over 7% of women, or one in 14, still light up during pregnancy. This study shows that the most likely candidates for smoking while carrying a baby are younger, less-educated women, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CBS News reports. Smoking not only exposes both the smoker but also the fetus to serious health risks. Based on data gathered in 2016, the most prevalent pregnant smokers were in West Virginia at 25%, followed by Kentucky at 18%, Montana at 16.5%, Vermont at 15.5%, and Missouri at 15%. The lowest rate of pregnant smokers was in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Washington, D.C.—all of them had a less than 5% smoking rate. This indicates certain age groups, ethnicity, and educational background are more likely to smoke during pregnancy.
The smoking rate was highest among pregnant women in their early 20s at 10.7%, followed by teen moms ages 15 to 19 at 8.5%, and those ages 25 to 29 at 8.2%. The habit becomes least prevalent among those over 5 years old. Midwives and pediatricians should always stress the importance of quitting in the most nonjudgmental way that they can. Providing a safe, caring environment for these mothers that show them the risks as well as the benefits in a way they can understand and sympathize with is key to getting through to them. They can’t feel like your attacking them if you want to get your point across. This including ongoing counseling, support, follow-up and relapse prevention strategies. Offering convenient tools through the web, phone, and in person are all ways to show your patients your on their side to becoming tobacco free.