Pregnancy Health: Undergoing The Carbon Monoxide Test

By alexa ancheta, Parent Herald March 01, 04:00 am

Smoking presents many risks to pregnant women. This has prompted England's National Health Service (NHS) to issue a directive for hospitals to conduct a carbon monoxide test for pregnant women.

The carbon monoxide test is part of an NHS campaign to convince patients, especially pregnant women, to stop smoking. Under the directive, nurses are urged to conduct a routine screen on pregnant women from the time they book an appointment at the hospital, and even after the delivery.

Hospitals will be required to remove smoking shelters and give out nicotine patches and gums to patients, according to The Guardian. Medical workers will be encouraged to advise their patients to give up smoking.

"One in four hospital inpatients smokes, but too many hospitals do too little to try to help them to give up," Public Health England chief executive Duncan Selbie said. "I want people who are in a hospital bed or in a consulting room to have a conversation about their smoking with a member of staff and if they want to quit, refer them on to stop smoking services."

Data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System in 2011 shows that around 10 percent of pregnant women smoked during their pregnancy's last trimester, as per CDC. Around 55 percent of those who smoked three months prior to their pregnancy stopped when they became pregnant. Unfortunately, 40 percent of those who stopped smoking during pregnancy went back to the habit within the first six months after giving birth.

Smoking can cause a variety of health problems including heart diseases, lung problems and cancer. Pregnant women who smoke are at a high risk of giving birth to babies that are premature or with birth defects. It can also lead to miscarriage or infant death.

Pregnant women who do not smoke but are exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke are also at risk of giving birth to lower-weight babies, Child Trends noted. Babies born by smoking mothers are three times more at risk of dying from the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. They are also at risk of developing asthma, childhood obesity and the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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