MORE women are smoking during pregnancy in Wiltshire, figures reveal.

The Government said too many women are at risk of suffering a stillbirth or complications as a result of smoking, particularly those from deprived areas, and recognised it must do more to tackle the issue.

According to NHS Digital data, 11 per cent of the mums who gave birth during the first three months of 2019 in Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group area were smokers - 113 out of 1,049 women.

This was an increase from nine per cent of 1,116 births during the same time last year, and nearly double the six per cent government target for the end of 2022.

Wiltshire Council said it was working to encourage women to stop smoking during pregnancy.

A project run by the Specialist Health Improvement in Pregnancy Service has seen more women swap cigarettes with e-cigarettes and another project in Salisbury is looking at whether financial incentives could tempt more women to quit. In September a specialist midwife for stopping smoking started work at the GWH in Swindon.

Figures on pregnancy numbers in the county also revealed that teenage pregnancy is at the lowest since the 1950s.

Steve Maddern, Wiltshire Council consultant in public health, said: “Rates have been reducing, contraception is getting better and there was a pivotal moment born out of the 1997 teenage pregnancy policy where there was a lot of resources to give girls and women informed choices.

“But we potentially run the risk of hopping from one public health crisis to another so there is still work to do. Doing good practice doesn’t end and I think moving to a more digital focus means there is a whole new range of resources. Young people just want to access information online.”

Despite fewer teenage pregnancies, abortion rates are up from 2016. Three years ago 1,060 women had a termination and by 2018 that had increased to 1,115.

Mr Maddern continued: “In the over 35 age bracket there is an issue with repeat termination, and we are trying to unpack that. Terminations are expensive and from an individual’s point of view are not physically or psychologically good either. We need to encourage the use of contraception and promote people being more informed.”