The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD) recently released a report that revealed in 2016, approximately one in 14 women within the United States still smoked cigarettes while pregnant. That equals out to just over seven percent of expecting mothers that year, although the percentages did differ from each state.
West Virginia had the highest percentage of smoking expectant moms at just over 25 percent, while California had the lowest at 1.6 percent.
Patrick Drake, the report’s senior author and demographer at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics noted that the levels did vary quite a bit between state, as well as race and age of the expectant mothers; however, any amount of smoking while pregnant is simply ‘too much’.
As per the CDC, smoking cigarettes during pregnancy has disastrous effects on an unborn child.
It increases their risks of birth defects, preterm labor, low birth rate, stillbirth, and sudden death syndrome (SAD).
The CDC’s report was based on data from birth certificates and the organization’s National Vital Statistics System.
CNN advised that upon reviewing the figures, CDC discovered that smoking while pregnant was lower in the 19 states, when compared to the national rate. Some of these states included: District of Columbia, New Jersey, Utah, California, Texas, Arizona, Hawaii, Connecticut, and New York. These states each had a five percent rate, versus the overall national percentage of 7.2%.
Still, 31 states had a higher prevalence rate then that national figure. Some states in this grouped included: West Virginia (which was at the top of the list), Missouri, Kentucky, Vermont, and Montana. In fact, pregnant women in West Virginia smoked five times more often than those females that lived in states with lower prevalence rates, according to Drake.
The report also indicated that the prevalence rates around smoking by U.S. pregnant women varied by race and age. It was highest among females 20-24, with a 10.4 percentage rate; 8.5 percent rate for those in the 15-19 demographic; and 8.2 percent for the 25-29 age bracket. The highest rate for pregnant women that smoked seemed to be Alaska Native females or non-Hispanic American Indians at 16.7 percent; non-Hispanic Caucasian women at 10.5 percent; non-Hispanic black females at six percent; followed by Hispanic females at 1.8 percent; and finally, non-Hispanic Asian females at 0.6 percent.
Interestingly enough, education played a factor in these numbers as well. Females with a GED or high school diploma had the highest rate to smoke while pregnant at 12.2 percent, and this rate seemed to decrease as education heightened with only a 7.9 percent rate for those who had an associate or college degree.
It’s important to note, the report did have its limitations, with the data gathered being self-reported.
Still, with these numbers comes a huge movement to continue to increase the awareness around the dangers of smoking while pregnant. Clearly, it is something that is still needed based on the above statistics.