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Quit Smoking During Pregnancy: Protecting Your Baby's Health

What are the risks of smoking when pregnant? Should I quit smoking during pregnancy?

  • Cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals and gases such as carbon monoxide that can harm your unborn child and deprive it of oxygen. 
  • Smoking in pregnancy is linked to poor pregnancy outcomes, such as low birth weight, placenta issues premature labour. Pre-term births mean your baby has a higher chance of having complications with their lungs, brain and feeding and could have long term health issues or disability.
  • Babies may also have weaker lungs. 
  • Smoking in pregnancy also increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. 
  • Babies born to mothers who smoked during or after pregnancy are at higher risk of Sudden infant death syndrome. 
  • Children living with smoking parents are at higher risk of developing asthma.

 

Smoking at any time in your pregnancy is dangerous for your baby. As soon as you stop smoking, the harmful chemicals leave your system. Quitting smoking during pregnancy is the best thing you can do to protect your unborn child – even If you are later on in your pregnancy when you quit, your baby will still see the benefits.

What if I reduce the number of cigarettes I smoke?

There is no safe amount of smoking during any stage of pregnancy. With every cigarette, dangerous chemicals reach your developing baby and put it at harm.

Can I use e-cigarettes or vapes?

No, it is not advised for pregnant women to use e-cigarettes or vapes. Any nicotine exposure in pregnancy can be harmful and e-cigarettes and vapes may contain other chemicals that could affect your baby. Neither have been tested on pregnant women and so it’s best to avoid them.

Getting help

Whilst some women can go cold turkey from smoking, many need help to successfully quit. Getting help from your local NHS Smoking cessation service and speaking with a Stop Smoking advisor means you are four times more likely to quit successfully. Remember, quitting at any stage of your pregnancy is going to have benefits for you and your baby, so don’t give up!

 

If you would like help with stopping smoking before pregnancy or when pregnant, speak to your GP or midwife who can support you in getting the help you need. Smoking cessation services and advisors may offer telephone, video or face-to-face support. You may also be offered group sessions. Many apps are also available to support you in your quitting journey. 

Can I safely take Nicotine Replacement therapy in pregnancy?

It is safer for you to give up smoking without the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). However, if you are struggling to quit, Nicotine Replacement Therapy can be used in pregnancy – it is safer to get Nicotine from NRT than from using cigarettes and NRT does not contain harmful chemicals and gasses like cigarettes. They help with cravings and come in many forms that you choose from, including patches, gum, tablets, lozenges and a spray.

 

The prescription tablets Zyban and Champix, two oral tablets to support quitting, are not recommended in pregnancy. 

 

For more information on the options available to you, or for more advice on how to quit smoking during pregnancy, speak to your doctor or midwife. 

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. For The Creators has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.

Dr Anna Cantlay

Dr Anna Cantlay - GP and Chief Medical Officer at For The Creators

Dr Anna Cantlay is an experienced NHS and private GP based in London.

Anna’s priority and passion is making healthcare convenient, accessible and personalised to you and your family. Anna is passionate about Womens Healthcare and is a Menopause specialist.

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