Smoking

Smoking during pregnancy is the most common preventable risk factor for pregnancy complications and is associated with poorer perinatal outcomes. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy can reduce the risk of adverse outcomes for themselves and their babies. Support to stop smoking is widely available through antenatal clinics.

The most recent data shows that about 1 in 10 mothers report smoking at any time during pregnancy, a rate that has been gradually falling since data became available in 2010. Teenage mothers (aged under 20) were the most likely to smoke, followed by mothers aged 20–24 years.

About 1 in 4 women who reported smoking during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy did not continue to smoke after 20 weeks.

Some women may smoke before knowing they are pregnant, and stop once they find out they are pregnant. According to the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, around 1 in 6 (16%) women smoked before they knew they were pregnant and, and 1 in 10 (11%) smoked after they found out they were pregnant (AIHW 2017).

As the number of previous pregnancies increased, so did the proportion of mothers who smoked, with nearly 1 in 3 mothers who had 4 or more previous pregnancies reporting smoking during pregnancy. Mothers living in Very remote or in the lowest socioeconomic areas also had higher rates of smoking than mothers in Major cities and the highest socioeconomic areas, respectively.

References

AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2017. National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016: detailed findings. Drug statistics series no. 31. Cat. no. PHE 214. Canberra: AIHW.