Smoking and Pregnancy
Why Is Smoking During Pregnancy Risky?
It can be very hard to quit smoking. But smoking during pregnancy means that the nicotine, carbon monoxide, and other chemicals pass to the growing baby. So it's important to quit as soon as possible.
What Should I Avoid?
Especially during pregnancy, it’s best to avoid all tobacco and nicotine-containing products. These include:
- e-cigarettes (vape pens)
- chewing tobacco
- water pipes (hookahs)
Likewise, avoid people who are smoking, whether they're coworkers, friends, family members, or people in public places. If they smoke indoors, ask them nicely to do it outside. If you're outdoors, ask them to do it away from you. Be ready to move away from the smoker if things get uncomfortable.
Health experts also recommend avoiding marijuana.
What Are the Risks to a Baby?
Smoking during pregnancy or regular exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to a higher risk for:
- miscarriage or stillbirth
- premature birth
- low birth weight
- birth defects (such as a cleft lip)
- sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- asthma and other breathing problems later on
What Can Help Me Quit?
Having a baby may be the reason you need to kick the habit. Talk to your doctor about options that can help.
Quitting isn't easy because nicotine is highly addictive. But there are many support groups and tobacco-free programs that can help you stop. You can find more information and help online at:
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995- KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.