Now I've heard everything: just read this...
Note that Caroline Flint pronounces that "pain relief is the answer". Please, not pain RELIEF. Pain management. You don't need drugs to cope with labour.
Also note that none of the papers picked this story up during the Labour Party conference. They picked it up from the Nursing Standard a week later. Just shows how many editors put a priority on sending reporters to fringe meetings organised by nurses on issues of maternity and women's health, doesn't it?
From the Guardian (all papers carried this story)
Pregnant teenagers are deliberately smoking in the hope of having smaller babies
so giving birth is easier, it has been reported.
Public health minister
Caroline Flint spoke at a Labour Party conference fringe meeting about
teenagers' attempts to reduce their labour pains, the Nursing Standard magazine
Smoking can lead to low birthweight babies, meaning some teenagers
smoke throughout pregnancy, the magazine said.
The Department of Health said
Ms Flint had heard about the issue anecdotally from health professionals and
young women she has met.
Ms Flint said: "It is important that we understand
what stops young women making healthy choices so we can provide the right
answers to their concerns.
"In this case, childbirth is no less painful if
your baby is low weight. So smoking is not the answer, pain relief
Studies have shown that women who smoke during pregnancy are three times
more likely to have a low birthweight baby. Smoking can also cause other
problems, such as respiratory illness.
Women who smoke are less likely to
carry their babies to full term and there is a 26% increased risk that they will
miscarry or experience stillbirth.
Babies of smoking mothers are also an
average of 200g (7oz) lighter at birth.
Royal College of Midwives (RCM)
midwife Gail Johnson said there was no evidence that having a smaller baby
reduced pain in labour. She said: "It is vital that the risks associated with
smoking are highlighted and that women are then supported to make changes to
their lifestyle but the RCM is very clear that there is no evidence that the
size of the baby relates to the amount of pain the woman may experience."
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