Why should I quit smoking if I’m pregnant?

Quitting smoking at any time during your pregnancy can reduce the risk of harm to you and your baby, and give your baby a great start in life.

 If you quit before you give birth, your baby is:

  • Less likely to be born premature (before 37 weeks);
  • more likely to be born at a healthy weight;
  • more likely to have a normally developed brain and lungs;
  • less likely to have to stay at the hospital due to health problems; and
  • less likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Smoking can also affect male and female fertility, so if you’re thinking of getting pregnant, now is a great time to quit.

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How smoking during pregnancy can affect your baby

Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth, birth defects (e.g. orofacial clefts), ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and stillbirth. It can also cause your baby to have a low birth weight and poor lung function, which both increase the risk of poor health and disability into adulthood.

How to quit smoking when you’re pregnant

If you’re pregnant, you might feel overwhelmed, anxious or stressed at times, as you deal with hormones and physical changes. These feelings are common triggers to smoke, so it is important to have a quit plan in place to help you deal with cigarette cravings.

Nicotine can contribute to premature birth and stillbirth, and can also affect your baby’s growing brain. If you are struggling with cravings, talk to your doctor to find out if using nicotine replacement therapies to quit smoking is a safe option for you.

Staying quit after you have your baby will benefit you both too, as smoking not only affects your health but the health of those around you.

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How secondhand smoke can affect your baby

It's also important that your loved ones do not smoke around you when you’re pregnant. Breathing in other people’s smoke can increase the risk of premature birth, stillbirth, low birth weight, birth defects and SIDS.

The effects of smoking around your baby also continue as they grow older.

Learn more about the effects of tobacco smoke on infants and children here.

Listen to Kathleen’s story about quitting during her pregnancy after smoking for 12 years.

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