Quitting smoking can be hard, but it is one of the best ways a woman can protect herself and her baby's health. For free help, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Most people know that smoking causes cancer, heart disease and other major health problems. But women who smoke during pregnancy put themselves and their unborn babies at risk for other health problems. The dangers of smoking during pregnancy include premature birth, certain birth defects, and infant death. Even being around cigarette smoke puts a woman and her baby at risk for problems.
Did You Know?
• Smoking makes it harder for a woman to get pregnant.
• Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than other women to have a miscarriage.
• Smoking during pregnancy causes major health problems for mom and baby. For example, smoking is one of the causes of problems with the placenta—the source of the baby's nutrition and oxygen during pregnancy.
• Smoking during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born too early and have low birth weight—making it more likely the baby will become sick or die.
• Smoking during and after pregnancy is one of the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
• Babies born to women who smoke are more likely to have a cleft lip or cleft palate—types of birth defects.
The Good News
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, such as low birth weight. It is never “too late” to quit smoking.
Quit for Good!
It is important to quit smoking for good. Some women might think it is safe to start smoking again after their baby is born. But these babies are not out of harm's way. Babies who are around cigarette smoke have weaker lungs than other babies. They are more likely to have other health problems such as infections and more frequent asthma attacks. Being around cigarette smoke is also one of the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Though 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.
Free help and support are available for pregnant women and others who want to quit for good: