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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.
Needs - Researchers - Stigma - Judgement - Mother
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.
Pressure - Government - Action - Figures - Cent
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.
Women - Habits - Judgement - Research
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.
Study - University - Cardiff - Women - Areas
The study at the University of Cardiff involved 10 pregnant women from low-income deprived areas of south Wales, five of the whom had smoked during pregnancy.
The participants were interviewed on their views and own history with smoking.
Advice - NHS - Pregnancy - Mothers
Aside from the strong advice from the NHS to not smoke during pregnancy, many expecting mothers do not hold back.
One participant, who was using e-cigarettes, said: 'Now I am pregnant again I’ve started having a few **** again. It’s like I’ve got a craving for smoke or something, it’s really weird. I’m not a heavy smoker but if I am in the house I’ll fancy like a little cig or something you know.'
Women - Partners
Some women said they were also judged negatively by their partners who did not...
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