Pregnant women are smoking and drinking in private because they are ‘irritated’ by people’s reactions to the habits which are known to harm unborn babies.

Judgement from midwives has led women to feel ‘alienated’ and have ‘awkward’ relationships, research has found.

Victim-blaming needs to end, researchers claimed, and a stigma is more often based on moral judgement of the mother, instead of the level of risk to an unborn child.

Smoking and drinking during pregnancy is known to raise the risk of miscarriage or premature birth and can lead to disability in children.

There is growing pressure on the Government to take action, as latest figures show 10.5 per cent of English women are known to be smokers when they give birth.

Interventions to reduce smoking often rely on midwives identifying women who have the habit.

But women are often reluctant to disclose their habits because they are afraid of moral judgement, the research found.

‘I think some of them (midwives) can be a bit bossy can’t they? Don’t do this, don’t do that. Oh please, just shush,’ one participant said.

Original Source

 

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