Pregnancy & breastfeeding
When you smoke, the poisons in tobacco are going into you and your baby. Nicotine affects your baby's blood supply, as well as affecting you.
It is better to quit before the pregnancy but quitting part way through your pregnancy will still help your baby's growth and health. It's never too late to quit for your baby.
Every puff you take increases the carbon monoxide poison in your bloodstream, so when you smoke:
- Less oxygen and nourishment get to your baby.
- Your baby's heart beats too fast (so does yours).
- Your baby's chest muscles don't have enough oxygen to exercise properly, to get ready for breathing after birth.
- You are more likely to lose your unborn baby (miscarry) if you smoke during pregnancy.
A smoker's baby is more likely to:
- Be stressed during labour, leading to a complicated birth.
- Have a low birth weight, making health problems more likely (smaller babies do not mean a shorter or easier labour).
- Die at, or shortly after, birth.
- Die of cot death, or SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
- Have coughs, colds and other breathing problems.
- Get ear infections.
- Develop asthma.
- Even if you don't smoke while actually breastfeeding, the chemicals in the smoke will stay in your clothes and hair, so your baby will still suffer. It is okay to use nicotine patches, gum or lozenges while breastfeeding.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women can still use nicotine patches, gum and lozenges. Please call the Quitline to get these.
Remember, you don't have to quit smoking alone. We're here to support you with a range of free services. Don't give up, Quit.