WOMEN who smoke during pregnancy are putting themselves and their baby at risk of serious harm unless they kick the habit, the NHS has warned.

The NHS’ chief midwife has spoken out as new data shows that last year more than 61,399 mums-to-be – more than one in ten of all pregnant women – were still smoking at the time they gave birth.

As part of the health service’s long term plan for England, all pregnant women will be offered specialist ‘Quit smoking’ advice, and an electronic carbon monoxide test during antenatal appointments.

It comes after figures showed that one in eight mum - 65 out of 505 - who gave birth in January at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust smoked while pregnant.

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, chief midwifery officer for England, said smoking while pregnant puts parent and child at risk.

She said: “Having a baby in this country is now safer than ever but smoking while carrying a baby puts both parent and child at avoidable and potentially deadly risk.

“No woman should have to experience the heartbreak of stillbirth, and quitting smoking is absolutely vital for a healthy mum and a healthy baby.