By MAMAMIA TEAM
“Excuse me, ma’am, can you please get out of the vehicle and breathe into this device?”
“Um, of course but hold on a moment, I’m heavily pregnant.”
“Oh we know. This is a smoking breath test.”
Okay, so although it’s unlikely that the police force will be involved, a new UK proposal to ask women to take smoking breath tests will actually come into force later this year. When a woman has her first antenatal appointment with a midwife, the midwife will be asked to test the soon-to-be mother’s carbon monoxide levels.
The point of this test is to find out whether mothers are telling the truth about their smoking habits, so that if it’s necessary midwives can then provide ‘appropriate support’ to mothers to help them quit. However, mothers – and the midwives who will be expected to administer the test – have branded the proposal ‘utter meddlesome nonsense’ and ‘ill-judged’ respectively.
Mothers were furious at the change, proposed by health watchdog NICE, with members of website Mumsnet branding the plans ‘utter meddlesome nonsense’ and ‘intrusive nannying’…
Although the tests will not be compulsory, mothers may feel obliged to take them after being asked to do so in hospital…. Louise Silverton, director of midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said: ‘It is a bit draconian.
‘They are asking us to test each pregnant woman for carbon monoxide on their very first visit… ‘It is not allowing women to say no or midwives to use their judgment. And it puts pressure on the first visit when a lot of women are already dealing with a lot of information and stress.’
The test will not be mandatory – women will only be asked to take the breath test, and they are perfectly within their rights to refuse – but some critics have said that the proposal is over-reaching by government.