Smoking during pregnancy can cause babies to be born too small or too early (preterm birth), certain birth defects, and stillbirth. Quitting smoking can be hard, but it is one of the best ways a woman can protect herself and her developing baby. For free help, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Many people know that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and stroke. But women who smoke during pregnancy put themselves and their developing babies at risk for other health problems. Even being around tobacco smoke puts a woman and her developing baby at risk for health problems.
Smoking during pregnancy affects your developing baby’s health
Smoking during pregnancy can cause babies to be born too small or too early. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with a birth defect of the mouth and lip called an orofacial cleft.
Babies who breathe in other people’s tobacco smoke are more likely to have ear infections and lung infections, like bronchitis and pneumonia; if they have asthma, breathing in other people’s tobacco smoke can trigger asthma attacks. These babies are also more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a sudden and unexpected infant death that has no immediately obvious cause after investigation.
It is never “too late” to quit smoking during pregnancy!
Quitting smoking before getting pregnant is best. But for women who are already pregnant, quitting as early as possible can still help protect against some health problems for their developing babies, such as being born too small or too early. It is never too late to quit smoking.
It is important to quit smoking for good. A women might think it is safe to start smoking again after her baby is born. But babies of mothers who smoke may breathe in the secondhand tobacco smoke that can harm their health. Although quitting for good can be hard, the benefits are worth it—a healthy baby and many more years of good health to enjoy with him or her.
If you or someone you know wants to quit smoking, talk to your healthcare provider about strategies. For support in quitting, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to local resources, please call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669); TTY 1-800-332-8615.