Plans to make pregnant women take a carbon monoxide breath test to check if they are telling the truth about their smoking habits have been criticised by midwives.
The guidelines are designed to help women and their families give up smoking during and after pregnancy and are not aimed at penalising smokers, the watchdog claims.
Professor Mike Kelly, director of NICE’s centre of public health excellence, said: “This isn’t to penalise them if they have been smoking, but instead will be a useful way to show women that both smoking and passive smoking can lead to having high levels of carbon monoxide in their systems.”
However, Royal College of Midwives (RCM) education and research manager Sue Macdonald said the use of the breath test may make women feel “guilty”.
Ms Macdonald said: “Use of the CO monitor has the potential to make women feel guilty and not engaged. We need to look at a range of individualised interventions for women that meet their needs and aspirations.”
The RCM welcomes the guidelines, because reducing smoking helps the health of women and their babies, but are also sceptical about the use of the breath test monitors because of cost.