MORE women are smoking during pregnancy in Wiltshire, figures reveal.

The Government said too many women are at risk of suffering a stillbirth or complications as a result of smoking, particularly those from deprived areas, and recognised it must do more to tackle the issue.

According to NHS Digital data, 11 per cent of the mums who gave birth during the first three months of 2019 in the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group area were smokers. That’s 113 out of the 1,049 women who gave birth during that time.

This was an increase from nine per cent out of 1,116 births during the same time last year, and much higher than the 6 per cent target the Government wants CCGs to meet by the end of 2022.

Wiltshire council said it was doing a number of things to encourage pregnant woman to stop smoking during pregnancy.

There is an e-cigarette pilot currently running within the Specialist Health Improvement in Pregnancy Service (SHIPS) services helping pregnant women to swap the cigarettes for another nicotine product. This has led to more woman working with the project who had previously refused help in other ways.

Another project in Salisbury is looking at whether financial incentives could encourage more women to quit.

In September a specialist midwife for stopping smoking started at the GWH in Swindon.

However, across the county teenage pregnancy levels have been found to be the lowest since the 1950s.

Data collected in 2016 and 2018 showed the continuing drop with numbers falling from 14 in every 1000 under 18s becoming pregnant in 2016 to statistics showing just 9.5 per 1000 under 18s fall pregnant.

Steve Maddern, consultant in Public Health, Wiltshire Council said: “Rates have been reducing, contraception is getting better and there was a pivotal moment born out of the 1997 teenage pregnancy policy where there was a lot of resources to give girls and women informed choices.

“But we potentially run the risk of hopping from one public health crisis to another so there is still work to do. Doing good practise doesn’t end and I think moving to a more digital focussed means there is a whole new range of resources. Young people just want to access information online.”

Despite fewer ttenage pregnancies, termination rates are up from 2016. Three years ago 1060 women had a termination and by 2018 that has increased to 1115.

There has been an increase in older women and repeat terminations taking place, health experts told the Health and Wellbeing meeting in County Hall.

Mr Maddern continued: “In the over 35 age bracket there is an issue with repeat termination, and we are trying to unpack that. Terminations are expensive and from an individual’s point of view are not physically or psychologically good either. We need to encourage the use of contraception and promote people being more informed.”