THE amount of mothers smoking during pregnancy in South Worcestershire in the past year was higher than the national average.

Figures released this week by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) showed 14.3 per cent of mothers who gave birth in the region between April 2013 and March this year admitted to smoking while they were expecting.

Although the figures showed the overall amount of pregnant smokers was at 12 per cent – its lowest level for eight years – this drop has not been reflected in Worcestershire.

But this still much lower than some areas of the country such as Blackpool, where 27.5 per cent of mothers smoked during pregnancy.

The lowest levels were seen in central and west London, where only 1.9 per cent of new mothers were recorded as smokers.

HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning said: “It is encouraging to see that since 2006-07 the number of pregnant women who smoked during pregnancy has declined.

“However, there is still a little way to go to achieve the national ambition.

“Today’s figures highlight there is a still work to be done and it is fundamental that mothers-to-be are aware of the damaging effects smoking can have on their baby.”

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