Midwives are being asked to deliver more information on the dangers of smoking whilst pregnant, as figures show a high number of expectant mothers are exposing their babies to smoke.
New figures from the NHS Information Centre show that rates were higher in every northern strategic health authority, compared with those in the South.
Data was provided by GP practices through the 149 primary care trusts and take into account the last quarter of 2011.
Out of 167,300 pregnancies in the North East, 20% of women were smokers when they gave birth, compared with just 6% in London.
And in Blackpool 30.3% of mums-to-be were still smoking. However the overall figure for England is down 15% from six years ago to 13.4%.
Royal College of Midwives (RCM) deputy general secretary Louise Silverton said: “We need more midwives to deliver the public health agenda and signpost parents to the most appropriate services.”
Smoking whilst pregnant can cause low birthweight and is also linked to premature births.
Research has also shown that mothers from deprived backgrounds are more likely to smoke and expose their child to more secondhand smoke during their upbringing.