PREGNANT women in East Lancashire are to be offered advice on quitting smoking in an NHS drive to prevent stillbirths.

It will see women given specialist stop smoking referrals and NHS England has said that the scheme will be rolled out across the country.

All of England’s maternity services will be instructed to take up the new 'Saving Babies Lives toolkit' which helps mums-to-be and NHS professionals look out for the warning signs of problem pregnancies and offers specialist stop smoking help.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “No parent should have to endure the heartbreak of stillbirth, and NHS action, delivered through the skill and professionalism of our midwives, nurses and doctors – means an even greater number of parents and babies experience a healthy birth.

“The NHS Long Term Plan set out a clear and ambitious plan to improve England’s maternity services, which alongside even more expectant mums taking action themselves by stopping smoking, will make having a baby as safe as possible”

Clea Harmer, chief executive of Sands, added: “It’s good to see that the NHS are offering specialist stop smoking help in the Care Bundle, as we know pregnant smokers and their partners need more help to quit.

"More than one in ten women in England are still smoking when their child is born with a real cost in babies’ lives.