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Healthier moms and babies for Mother’s Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Linda Ahrendt, (605) 773-3737 


Healthier moms and babies for Mother’s Day


PIERRE, S.D. – Nearly 20 percent of South Dakota mothers smoked during pregnancy in 2010, one of the highest percentages in the nation, says a state health official.  


“It’s important to remember that tobacco use not only harms a woman’s health, it also causes serious health risks for her infants and children,” said Colleen Winter, Director of Health and Medical Services for the Department of Health. “Moms who smoke can celebrate Mother’s Day by quitting, and all moms, whether or not they smoke, can celebrate by protecting their kids from secondhand smoke.”


Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy directly increases a child’s risk for such health problems as abnormal blood pressure, cleft palates and lips, leukemia, colic, respiratory disorders and eye problems. Such exposure is also associated with an increased risk of mental retardation, attention deficit disorder, behavioral problems and other learning and developmental problems.


Winter noted that the 2011 South Dakota Governor’s Task Force on Infant Mortality identified decreasing tobacco use, particularly among pregnant women, as a key strategy for bringing down the state’s infant mortality rate. South Dakota infants of mothers who smoke during pregnancy die at a higher rate than infants of mothers who do not smoke. The infant mortality rate for infants of mothers who smoke was 10.5 deaths per 1,000 live births, well above the 6.2 per 1,000 rate among infants of non-smoking mothers.


Moms wanting to quit tobacco can call the South Dakota QuitLine at 1-866 SD-QUITS (1-866-737-8487) for one-on-one support from trained professionals and access to free cessation medications. Online support is also available at www.SDQuitLine.com. 


Improving birth outcomes and the health of infants, children and adolescents is a key objective of the department’s Health 2020 Initiative.