A QUARTER of women in South Tyneside were still smoking at the time they give birth, according to recent figures.
The data, published last month, showed that the number of women using cigarettes in the later stages of pregnancy was more than twice the national average.
Of the 1,598 women who gave birth in the borough between April last year and the end of March this year a total of 400 were still smokers.
That compares to a national average of 12 per cent and a North-East average of 16.3 per cent.
Smoking in pregnancy is harmful to both mother and baby, increasing the risk of maternal death, miscarriage and stillbirth.
The figures were compiled by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.