One in five CQ mothers smoke throughout pregnancy

ALMOST one in five of Central Queensland's expectant mums are smoking during their pregnancy.

Alarming new statistics show that 22% of women who visited their doctor in the first trimester in the region smoked at some point during their pregnancy.

Smoking during pregnancy can be linked to serious health issues affecting babies.

The report, by the National Health Performance Authority, looked into the number of women smoking during pregnancy, the percentage of low-birth-weight babies and women who had at least one antenatal visit in their first trimester.

The results are shown for 2009-12 and found that the rate of low-birth-weight babies was more than double in some areas of Australia compared to others.

In Central Queensland, 5% of babies were born with a low birth weight.

Women were also twice as likely to receive antenatal care in their first trimester of pregnancy in some local areas compared to others. In Central Queensland that figure was 59%.

National Health Performance Authority CEO Dr Diane Watson said reporting at a local level identified areas where improvements in child and maternal health should be targeted.

"These results empower health system managers and local communities to target their efforts to drive child and maternal health programs for the benefit of all families," she said.



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