Mums-to-be across the country will be offered carbon monoxide (CO) monitoring as standard when they attend their first antenatal appointment.
Carbon Monoxide, a colourless, toxic gas, produced when anything burns and can be found in cigarette smoke, vehicle exhaust fumes as well as faulty gas appliances.
To raise awareness of the service an information stand was set up at Montrose Maternity Unit, where mums-to-be from Brechin can attend, providing information on the new CO monitoring service and demonstrated how the carbon monoxide monitor worked.
Midwives and smoking cessation coordinators also gave out information on how to stop smoking as well as the risks associated with passive smoking.
CO levels in both the woman and the baby can be detected and measured by breathing into a CO monitor.
As part of the screening service midwives will explain the health effects of high CO levels on the woman’s pregnancy and her unborn baby.
Smoking during pregnancy or being exposed to passive smoking can increase the risk of miscarriage and premature birth.
Children of parents who smoke tend to suffer from more respiratory problems such as asthma or bronchitis.
Midwife Linda Gierasik explained: “All midwives across Tayside will be offering this new carbon monoxide screening service to pregnant women.
“When women attend their first antenatal appointment their midwife will give them the opportunity to be tested to find out if they or their unborn child are being affected by carbon monoxide from tobacco smoke, whether from their own smoking or from being around others who smoke.
“It is a very quick and simple breath test to take which gives an instant reading for CO levels detected in the woman’s breath sample.
“A national CO level of 4ppm or below has been agreed for pregnant women. If they have a reading above this, whether they smoke or not, they are offered referral to NHS Tayside’s Smoke Free Services. They will receive information and support to stop smoking or to reduce the risk of passive smoking.
“So this test offers pregnant women in Tayside the opportunity to improve their own health and wellbeing as well as their unborn baby.”