Smoking in pregnancy

National and local strategies (best practices)

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE PH26 2010) released updated guidance on “Quitting smoking in pregnancy and following childbirth.” Some of the recommendations include:

  • Identifying pregnant women who smoke and referring them to NHS Stop Smoking Services. This is aimed at midwifery and includes biomechanically measuring levels of carbon monoxide in all pregnant women and referring those who smoke to services.
  • All other health and social care professionals, such as GPs, health visitors, sonographers, youth workers, etc., should be identifying pregnant women who smoke and refer to NHS Stop Smoking Services.
  • Stop Smoking Services to contact all women by phone and attempting to see those whose contact was not possible at key maternity appointments. It also recommends offering appointments at other venues, including home visits. There are also recommendations on how to relay information to pregnant women on the phone.
  • Provide initial on-going support including the provision of interventions throughout pregnancy and after delivery. It recommends the use of Carbon monoxide testing and the provision of support to women who recently quit, including the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy when needed
  • Ensure services meet the needs of disadvantaged pregnant women who smoke, including collaboration with agencies who support women with complex needs, such as substance misuse services, teenage pregnancy support and mental health services.
  • Ensure partners and others, related to pregnant women, who smoke, are offered stop smoking support and advice on passive smoking.
  • Training should be provided to relevant professionals on delivering stop smoking interventions to pregnant women, namely midwives. All other relevant professionals should be trained on how to deliver brief interventions to initiate a referral to stop smoking services

For full access to this guidance please go to:

Last updated Friday, 22nd April 2016