We know that stopping smoking can be hard and being pregnant doesn’t always make it easier, even though it is one of the best reasons for you and your partner to quit. It really is one of the most important decisions you can make for your baby, both to make sure you have a healthy pregnancy and a happy outcome.

When you are pregnant even other people’s cigarette smoke can pass into your bloodstream and from there onto your baby, so it is important your partner and close family members don’t smoke around you – and even a good reason for your partner to quit with you.

Before, during or after your pregnancy it’s never too late to quit.

What help is available for me to stop smoking?

At your booking appointment and your twelve week scan a midwife will routinely perform a simple carbon monoxide breath test on you to check your levels and will discuss your results and the support you can receive to help you stop smoking.

Full support is available throughout your pregnancy, including a flexible home visit service.

The damage from smoking in pregnancy can last a lifetime for your child.

Effects of smoking on your baby and your pregnancy

It’s difficult to imagine what harm smoking is doing as you can’t see your baby, but every time you smoke this can have a big impact on your baby’s growth and development.

  • When you smoke you inhale over 4,000 chemicals from your cigarette or tobacco. One of these is a dangerous chemical called carbon monoxide, which gets into your bloodstream. This restricts the oxygen that’s essential for your baby’s healthy growth and development and your baby’s tiny heart has to beat harder, every time you smoke.
  • Smoking when pregnant increases your chance of miscarriage, premature birth, having an underweight baby, stillbirth and cot death.
  • A baby whose mum smoked is at least 25% more likely to die from cot death than a baby whose mum didn’t smoke and exposure to tobacco smoke when they are born from anyone increases this risk further.
  • Smoking also causes many problems, which you may not realise are connected to pregnancy including; fertility problems and delayed conception, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and many congenital abnormalities such as cleft lip and palate, heart defects, and deformities of the hands.

It may be that you know people who have smoked when pregnant and their baby appears fine – but it’s a gamble with your baby’s health. Is it a gamble worth taking?