Quitting smoking when you’re pregnant will make you feel better and give your baby a better start in life. Quitting at any time during your pregnancy reduces the risk of harm to your baby. You may be feeling a lot of pressure to quit. Take some time to think about what the right decision is for you and your baby. The decision is yours but don’t forget there’s a lot of support out there to help you if you want to quit.
Planning to quit as early as you can is the decision most health professionals recommend. The day you quit smoking your body will start to get rid of all the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes.
The following are the known increased risks of smoking while pregnant:
- Complications during the birth
- Having a low-weight baby who is more vulnerable to infection and health problems in adulthood
- Pre-term delivery (birth at less than 37 weeks)
- The baby being born with a cleft lip or cross-eyes
- The baby being born with weaker lungs, which may persist into adulthood
- The baby having a weaker immune system
- The baby being overweight or obese in childhood
Smoke-free pregnancy – The benefits
Quitting smoking before or during pregnancy is the single most effective means of protecting your baby and yourself from the development of serious complications during pregnancy.
By quitting smoking before or during pregnancy you are:
- more likely to conceive naturally and without delay
- less likely to suffer a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy
- less likely to deliver your baby prematurely
By quitting smoking before or during pregnancy your baby is:
- less likely to die at or shortly after birth from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- more likely to be born a healthy weight
- likely to be more settled and feed better
- more likely to be discharged home from hospital with you and need less care in hospital.
A baby exposed to tobacco smoke in-utero and through second-hand smoke as an infant is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and be obese as an adult. This risk is increased even if they are non-smokers throughout their lives