Pregnant women should be breath-tested during antenatal visits to check whether they are smoking, according to a story by Paul Cullen for The Irish Times quoting the findings of a new study.
The study, conducted among women attending the Coombe hospital in Dublin, Ireland, found that women who hid their smoking habit missed out on vital monitoring of their pregnancies and ended up having more problems as a result.
It found a ‘substantial number’ of women with high carbon monoxide levels – an indicator of smoking – had not declared their tobacco use.
An increased level of breath carbon monoxide (BCO) was said to have been associated with lower birth weight of babies and an increased risk of adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes.
The authors, with the Coombe and University College Dublin, said this finding strengthened the case for universal BCO screening at the first antenatal visit.
A high reading should result in referral of the woman to smoking cessation services and close monitoring of the baby, they said.