Mandurah has the highest percentage of women in the Greater Perth area who smoke cigarettes during the first five months of their pregnancy, according to a report released last week.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report revealed 13.6 per cent of Mandurah women smoked during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy in 2016, compared to the national average of 9.5 per cent.
The report stated a total of 161 Mandurah women smoked in the first five months out of 1186 women who gave birth.
Kwinana (11.7 per cent), Armadale (11.3 per cent) and Rockingham (11 per cent) were close behind Mandurah.
Perth City (2.2 per cent), South Perth (2.2 per cent) and Melville (2.9 per cent) had the lowest percentage of women who smoked during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
A spokeswoman from the health minister’s office said the government had moved to strengthen tobacco control legislation.
“...and we want to ensure these reforms support public health education programs available in the community to help smokers,” she said.
“We know prevention is the key to health and wellbeing which is why we want to continue the discussion with health experts and understand what more can be done when it comes to preventive health.”
South Metropolitan Health Service said they could not provide comment on the Mandurah figures.
Cancer Council WA Make Smoking History manager Kelly Kennington said it was never too late to quit smoking, but the earlier the better.
“As soon as you stop, you and your baby will benefit,” she said.
“Women who stop smoking during pregnancy can reduce the risk of adverse outcomes for themselves and their babies.
“There are many benefits of a smoke-free pregnancy including a decreased risk of miscarriage, decreased risk of your baby having a cleft lip or being cross-eyed, you are more likely to have a healthy baby who feeds easily, and a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome.”