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Smoking During Pregnancy

Smoking during pregnancy

Pregnant or trying to conceive? Here's what all mums-to-be should know about smoking.

Attitudes towards smoking have changed over the years as we learn more and more about the potential harmful effects. For example, passive smoking can be damaging and even smoking before conception can be harmful. It can take smokers longer to conceive but it's not just a woman's smoking that can be the cause. 

What actually happens if you smoke during pregnancy

When you smoke you inhale lots of dangerous chemicals. This affects your circulation and oxygen in your blood is replaced by harmful carbon monoxide. This means if you were smoking while pregnant, your baby would receive less oxygen and nutrients and more chemicals in the womb and their heart would have to work harder to try and get what oxygen it can.

How smoking during pregnancy affects you

On average, women who smoke are more likely than non-smokers to:

• Suffer more morning sickness.

• Have an ectopic pregnancy.

• Have an increased risk of miscarriage.

• Go into premature labour.

How smoking while pregnant affects your baby

Babies of pregnant women who continue smoking are more likely to: 

• Have developmental problems.

• Have a much lower birth weight.

• Have problems keeping warm when newborn.

• Have a higher risk of cot death.

• Have a higher risk of illnesses such as asthma.

Try to stop smoking before you get pregnant

If you quit before you get pregnant not only will you get your baby off to a better start in life but you'll also have been a non-smoker for longer – making it easier to resist smoking during your pregnancy and afterwards. 

Help to stop smoking for mums-to-be

The great news is – since the dangers of smoking have become more well-known, help with giving up smoking is much more widely available. Your doctor should be able to give you lots of advice and encouragement. Many people find it easier to quit if they have someone helping them along.