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Lead author explains BMJ study on smoking during pregnancy and social inequality in stillbirths and infant deaths
2 October 2009
A study published in the BMJ suggests that tackling smoking during pregnancy may help to reduce the socio-economic inequalities in stillbirths and infant deaths by as much as 30–40%.
Dr Ron Gray of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford is the lead researcher on the paper. He says:
‘Our study looked at data from all admissions to maternity units in Scotland between 1994 and 2003. We found increased risk of stillbirths and infant deaths to women living in the most deprived areas of Scotland compared to those living in the most advantaged areas.
‘Some of the social inequality in these outcomes, perhaps 30-40 per cent, is accounted for by smoking during pregnancy.
‘Tackling smoking during pregnancy will be important in reducing this inequality gap, but such action on smoking is unlikely to be enough on its own. Other initiatives to support mothers and children, such as measures to deal with poverty among socially excluded families, will be necessary as well.
’For more information please contact the Press Office, University of Oxford on +44 (0)1865 280530 or email@example.com.