New research has revealed that almost one in five pregnant women in the Ilkeston and Long Eaton areas continue to smoke through to the time they give birth.
The figure is almost twice the national average of around one in ten.
As a result, NHS Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group has launched the ‘love bump’ campaign to try and help pregnant women quit and educate them on the effects of smoking while pregnant.
Dr Avi Bhatia, chair of NHS Erewash CCG, said: “Every cigarette smoked by an expectant mother is the equivalent of putting a baby in a room full of smoke for a quarter of an hour.
“More than 4,000 poisonous chemicals enter the womb with every cigarette smoked, restricting the supply of clean oxygen to the womb, and causing the baby’s heart to beat faster— which impacts the healthy development of the foetus.”
He added: “Many expectant mothers believe that the stress of quitting will not be good for their baby, but stopping smoking will increase the amount of oxygen to the womb so your baby will feel the benefits immediately.
“Stopping smoking is hard, but it is never too late to quit, no matter what stage of pregnancy you are at.”
Health bosses recognise that it may be difficult for a pregnant woman to admit that they smoke, and have developed a range of support options to help without judgement.
For more information, seewww.facebook.com/lovebumpstopsmoking, www.lovebump.org.uk or call Live Life Better Derbyshire on 0800 0852299.