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Smoking By Expectant Mothers Sees A Spike

Phillipa Willitts

More Michigan mothers are smoking while pregnant.  A new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy shows between 2008 and 2014 the rate of expectant mothers smoking increased by 18% in Michigan.

Smoking while pregnant can lead to early birth, low birthweight and infant death, among other complications. 

Doctor Eden Wells is the Chief Medical Executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  She said, “In our state, infant mortality really rides on the fact – two issues, one a baby born too small, or a baby born too early.  Both of those are impacted by the mom smoking.”

The study did find that the rate of preterm births went up by 20% statewide between 2008 and 2014.

Alicia Guevara Warren is the Kids Count in Michigan Project Director at the League.  She says one reason for this increase is lack of resources and outreach for expectant moms. 

“I think when we started kind of digging in and seeing what effort is being put in around helping moms quit smoking, we see that it’s fairly small here when we’re looking at just state funding that’s targeted to just this one cause,” she said.

Doctor Wells said doctors stepping in can also help decrease the number of smoking moms.   

“So, if our rate is going up in smoking mothers, that is a sign that I think more public health intervention and intervention by our obstetricians, gynecologists, family care practitioners to intervene and really get this rate down,” she said.

Guevara Warren says because the moms self-reported smoking while pregnant, the number could actually be higher.

You can find the full report here

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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