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Smoke free pregnancy

Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do to improve the health of you and your unborn baby

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Why stop smoking for your baby?

When you smoke or are exposed to cigarettes over 4000 toxins including, carbon monoxide and nicotine cross the placenta directly into your baby's blood stream - so your baby smokes with you. This reduces their oxygen and nourishment. By stopping smoking, these harmful gasses leave your body and you will:

  • Reduce the risk of complications in pregnancy and birth
  • Reduce the risk to your baby of being born prematurely
  • Reduce the risk of your baby being born underweight
  • Reduce the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Reduce the risk of placental abruption (afterbirth coming away from the uterus causing bleeding)
  • Reduce the risk of Sudden Infant death Syndrome (SIDS) previously known as cot death
  • Reduce the chance of your baby developing breathing, behavioural and mental health difficulties in childhood

Why stop smoking for you?

  • After 20 minutes your pulse will already be starting to return to a normal rate
  • After eight hours your oxygen levels will be returning to normal and carbon monoxide levels in your blood will have reduced by half
  • 48 hours after stopping smoking your body will have flushed out all carbon monoxide and your lungs will start to clear out mucus
  • After 72 hours your breathing will feel easier
  • After 2-12 weeks your circulation will have improved
  • 3-9 months later any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function is starting to increase by up to 10%
  • A year later your risk of a heart attack will have halved compared to a smoker
  • After 10 years your risk of death from lung cancer will have halved compared to a smoker
  • More great news..... after 15 years of quitting, your risk of a heart attack is now the same as someone who has never smoked
  • Wounds will heal quicker, with fewer infections.

More great benefits...….

  • Your sense of smell and taste will improve
  • Improves oxygen levels to your skin improving its appearance and prevents further deterioration
  • Your teeth will look whiter with fresher breath. You are less likely to get gum disease and premature loss of teeth
  • Improves fertility levels and improved chances of having a healthy pregnancy
  • Men who quit by the age of 30 add 10 years to their life
  • Many people believe that having a cigarette helps them with stress. In fact, scientific studies show that stress levels are lower when people stop smoking.


Myths around smoking


There are lots of myths and old wives takes around smoking in pregnancy. The following information will try to answer some of them.

Myth Fact
The womb provides a protective bubble around the baby The womb protects your baby from many things but the toxins from cigarettes go in to your blood stream and straight to your baby.
A smaller baby will be easier to deliver A smaller baby does not mean you will have an easier birth. In fact you may have a more difficult one! Smaller babies are weaker and might struggle during labour leading to a higher chance of you having a caesarean section. It also adds to the risk of stillbirth.
My mum smoked when she was pregnancy and I am fine Smoking affects babies in different ways. Stopping smoking gives your baby the best chance of being healthy. Why take the risk?
It won't affect me or my baby if my partner smokes Second hand smoke is also very dangerous for your baby. You could try quitting together and give your baby the best start.
I didn't know I was pregnant - it's too late now Stopping smoking at any stage is still beneficial to your baby and you. Its never too late to stop.



Further sources of information

Your local stop smoking services

These services provide a wide variety of support options to support you in quitting smoking.