We know that it can be difficult to quit smoking. But we also know that you want to give your baby the best possible start in life.
Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do to improve your baby’s health, growth and development. But there are many old wives’ tales about smoking during pregnancy that actually stop mums-to-be from quitting. So we want to share the facts that you need to know.
No matter what stage you’re at in your pregnancy, it’s never too late to stop smoking. The NHS offers specialist support for pregnant women who are trying to quit, so once you’ve read this page the best thing you can do is get in touch with us – we’re here to help you, your partner and your baby.
Know the risks
It’s difficult to imagine when you can’t see your baby, but smoking when you’re pregnant is like blowing smoke in your baby’s face. When you smoke a cigarette, the poisons from the cigarette smoke are passed on to your baby.
Not only is this very distressing for your baby, but the exposure to these poisons can last up to 15 minutes at a time. It’s like putting your baby in a smoke-filled room for 15 minutes.
This happens for each and every cigarette you smoke, so cutting down on your smoking rather than quitting completely will still have a harmful effect on your baby’s wellbeing.
How smoking affects your baby in the womb
When you smoke you breathe in more than 4,000 chemicals from the cigarette. The smoke goes from your lungs into your bloodstream. That blood flows to your placenta and umbilical cord, right into your baby’s tiny body. This causes your baby to struggle for oxygen.
One of the chemicals found in cigarettes is carbon monoxide, a dangerous chemical that gets into your bloodstream.
This restricts the supply of oxygen that’s essential for your baby’s healthy growth and development. This causes your baby’s tiny heart to pump even harder.
How smoking affects your newborn baby
Your baby’s tiny body is completely dependent on yours, so if you smoke throughout your pregnancy, your baby will go through nicotine withdrawal once it is born. This can make your baby stressed and irritable and it may be difficult to stop them crying.
Smoking while you are pregnant also increases the risk of your baby dying from cot death by at least 25%.
How smoking affects your children
Children exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma attacks and meningitis. Last year in the UK, 300,000 GP visits and 9,500 hospital admissions were caused by children breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke.
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