Should foetal CO monitoring be more frequent if over 67,000 expectant mothers in England are still smoking?

The piCObaby™ Smokerlyzer® from Bedfont® Scientific Ltd. offers a quick and non-invasive method of measuring the CO levels of both the mums-to-be and their babies to help them quit smoking.

Figures released from the Women’s Smoking Status at Time of Delivery: England, published by the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), showed that although the number of women smoking whilst pregnant fell between 2014/15 and 2015/16, the 2015/16 figures still show that 10.6% of mothers were recorded as still smoking at the time of delivery. Bedfont®, who manufacture the renowned Smokerlyzer® used for smoking cessation, manufacture a version called the piCObaby™ Smokerlyzer® which is specifically designed to help pregnant smokers quit, and also shows the foetal CO calculation.

With the new year being the perfect time to quit smoking, concerns about smoking whilst pregnant have been highlighted significantly. Even Chief Executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie, recently recommended that all pregnant mums be CO screened when they book a hospital appointment and amidst fears that mothers don’t truly recognise the harm smoking whilst pregnant has to their unborn child 1.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is inhaled from smoking and replaces the oxygen in your blood, effectively starving your organs of oxygen which can lead to several health complications 2. Smoking whilst pregnant can pass on these detrimental effects to your unborn child and cause serious pregnancy-related health problems, such as complications during labour, an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, still birth, low birth-weight and sudden unexpected death in infancy 3.

Jason Smith, managing director at Bedfont®, explains, “The Smokerlyzer® is effective because when people blow into the monitor, the traffic light system provides a visual motivational aid as to the amount of CO in a smoker’s body and therefore provides a warning about the harm they are doing to themselves by continuing to smoke. The piCObaby™ not only does this, but also shows the foetal calculation and therefore the potential harm that a pregnant smoker could be having on her unborn child too.”

“CO breath testing with the Smokerlyzer® has been used by stop smoking clinics worldwide for over 30 years now. What makes it so popular with patients and stop smoking clinics is that it is much quicker than more conventional methods of CO testing, such as a blood test, but also it is more patient-friendly because it is completely non-invasive. We hope that if more mums-to-be know about this easier way of CO screening or if they need a little extra help to quit smoking whilst pregnant, they will opt to have a CO breath test with the piCObaby™ to help them quit, for their health and their unborn baby’s.”


1. Hospitals should ‘test all pregnant women to find out if they smoke’ in a bid to help them quit [Internet]. The Mirror. 2017 [cited 12 January 2017]. Available from:

2. Carbon Monoxide in Cigarettes – Carbon Monoxide Kills [Internet]. Carbon Monoxide Kills. 2017 [cited 12 January 2017]. Available from:

3. Quitting smoking in pregnancy and following childbirth: Guidance. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. 2010

[cited 12 January 2017]

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