BISMARCK, N.D. — State health officials say fewer pregnant women are smoking in North Dakota.

The Department of Health’s birth certificate records show the state had a pregnancy smoking rate of 11.6 percent in 2016. That’s down from 13.8 percent in the year prior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the national smoking rate for pregnant women is 8.4 percent.

Health officials also say more than a quarter of the North Dakota women who say they smoked in the first trimester of pregnancy quit by the third trimester.

State child health nurse consultant Amy Burke says women who smoke while pregnant can increase their risk of health complications with the pregnancy, premature birth, low-birth weight and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

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