Smoking in pregnancy

If you have any concerns around your pregnancy please call our Triage Helpline
Tel: 0300 131 5341

If you are pregnant and are a smoker it is really important for you to stop smoking for your health and the health of your unborn baby.

Just as smoking is bad for you, babies in the womb can be harmed by tobacco smoke because it reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that pass through the placenta from you to your baby.

At your booking appointment with your Midwife you will be asked to do a simple breath test for carbon monoxide (CO). CO is a toxic gas released from tobacco smoke, exhaust fumes and faulty gas appliances. CO is extremely harmful to you and your baby.

How does smoking harm you and your unborn baby?

  • Each time you smoke your baby is deprived of the oxygen s/he needs to grow for about 20 minutes
  • It deprives your muscles, brain and body tissues of oxygen
  • It damages your placenta
  • It restricts the oxygen supply to your baby
  • It can lead to poor growth, premature birth and still birth
  • It can cause miscarriage
  • It increases the risk of your baby being born with abnormalities – face defects, such as cleft lip and palate, are more common because smoking affects the way your baby develops

Why should you quit smoking?

The earlier you stop smoking the better: but it’s never too late to quit!

  • Your baby will feel the benefits straight away
  • You will reduce the risk of your baby being born underweight and under-develop
  • You and your baby will be free from CO in less than 24 hours
  • Better health in the future
  • More money to spend on you and your baby

How can a stop smoking service help a pregnant woman to stop smoking?

Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health and the health of your baby. You are four times more likely to stop with the help of the stop smoking specialist. All women who are smokers at their booking appointment are referred to our Stop Smoking Specialist Midwife for help to quit.

The Stop Smoking Specialist Midwife can work with you to help you quit; they will support you to make this important change. If you choose, they can provide you with free Nicotine Replacement Therapy such as inhalators or patches.

It’s important for your baby that you stop smoking while you’re pregnant.

Stop Smoking Service

Smoking while pregnant can be harmful to your baby and can damage your own health. It is a good idea to stop smoking before you get pregnant; this also has a positive effect on your fertility. Encourage your partner, if they smoke, to give up, too – second-hand smoke still contains harmful chemicals that can harm your baby.

Helpful advice and support is available from your Midwife and our Healthy Pregnancy Support Worker: esht.maternitytdtservices@nhs.net

It is never too late to give up smoking! If you have had your baby, free advice and help is available from our local stop smoking service ‘One You East Sussex’  oneyou.eastsussex@nhs.net

Helpful advice and support is available from your Midwife and our Healthy Pregnancy

Support Worker:
please email: esht.maternitytdtservices@nhs.net
or message 07977 093808

How can partners support a pregnant woman to stop smoking when they smoke themselves?

If you are the partner of a pregnant woman and you want to support a pregnant woman to stop smoking you may consider stopping smoking yourself. This is because it is easier to stop smoking when people around you do not smoke.

If you feel that you do not want to stop smoking, you can be supportive by smoking outside the home, away from your partner and prevent the effects of second hand smoke.