Babies: Carbon Monoxide

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of Liz Twist Liz Twist Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to protect (a) unborn children and (b) infants from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Photo of Liz Twist Liz Twist Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of carbon monoxide poisoning during pregnancy on the unborn child; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Long-term exposure to carbon monoxide gas can damage an unborn baby. Babies exposed to carbon monoxide during pregnancy are at risk of a low birth weight; stillbirth; death that occurs within the first four weeks of birth; and behavioural problems.

Women are tested for the presence of carbon monoxide at the antenatal booking appointment and as appropriate throughout pregnancy to identify smokers, or those exposed to tobacco smoke, and offer them a referral for support from a trained stop smoking advisor. Carbon monoxide testing may also highlight a household problem and the need to take measures to prevent further exposure.

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