Report: Kentucky Has The 2nd Highest Number Of Pregnant Smokers

Posted at 4:36 PM, Apr 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-22 16:36:17-04

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – New information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brings some not-so-good news about the number of women smoking while pregnant.

Our sister station WAVE 3 News reports, according to a study, one out of 14 women who gave birth in 2016 smoked cigarettes while pregnant. The prevalence of smoking during pregnancy varies by state.  Thirty-one states ranked higher than the national rate. West Virginia topped the list at 25.1 percent, followed by Kentucky at 18.4 percent.  Indiana came in at 13.5%.  California had the lowest rate at 1.6 percent. Women ages 20-24 were most likely to smoke during pregnancy.

The overall percentage is down from 2011 when the national average was 10 percent. While this is a move in the right direction, Norton obstetricians/ gynecologists say the ideal goal is no smoking during pregnancy.

There are many dangers to mom and baby: 

  • It puts babies at higher risk for certain birth defects, including cleft lip or cleft palate.
  • It can cause a baby to be born too early or to have low birth weight.
  • It can raise the risk of stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome.
  • It can cause problems with the placenta.
  • Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have miscarriages. Smoking also can make it harder for a woman to get pregnant.

Doctors say now is the time to quit.

"Women are most motivated to quit smoking while they are pregnant,"  Dr. Charise Shively, obstetrician/gynecologist with Norton OB/GYN Associates said. "They realize that their smoking habit is no longer impacting their own health but the health and well-being of the child they are carrying, and many want to make a change."

During pregnancy, women can use smoking cessation medications, but Dr. Shively warns that, with any medication, there is a risk of side effects.

"It is important to talk to your doctor and decide together what is best for you," Dr. Shively said. "There are many options, from medication to smoking cessation class or, because it is such a motivating opportunity to quit during pregnancy, many women will quit cold turkey."

Dr. Shively warns against using nicotine replacement supplements, such as a patch or gum, because nicotine is absorbed by the baby as well as the mother.

"Patients should view their health provider as part of their team in working together to quit smoking — without the fear of being judged," Dr. Shively said. "It will improve the life of the mother as well as the baby and reduce so many risks."

If you are interested in quitting smoking and want support, Norton Healthcare offers Freedom From Smoking classes. For more information call (502) 629-1234, Option 3.

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