Smokefree Baby and Me

Quitting smoking is the best gift you can give to your baby before they are even born. While pregnant, ditching the cigarettes can seem like an impossible task. We’re going to help you out and answer some frequently asked questions to help you with your decision to quit smoking.

How does it harm my baby? 😕

You breathe in over 4,000 chemicals from a cigarette.

Chemicals go from your lungs into your bloodstream.

That blood flows to the placenta & umbilical cord, right into your baby’s body.

What does it do to the baby? 😢

The smoke can last for up to 15 minutes in the womb, restricting the essential oxygen supply to your baby.

Their tiny heart has to beat harder every time you smoke. Your baby is completely dependent on you, if you smoke your baby smokes and will go through nicotine withdrawal once it is born.

This will make your baby stressed, more irritable and harder to settle down when they are born.

Not forgetting the increased risk of cot death. A baby whose mum smoked is 25% more likely to die from cot death than a baby whose mum didn’t smoke.

Isn’t my stress from quitting worse for the baby than smoking is? 😩

No. Smoking is far more damaging than the stress could ever be. Cravings between cigarettes may make you feel stressed, but this is just the withdrawal. These cravings will last around 3 minutes. Beat the cravings by doing a cheeky bit of baby shopping or write a list of baby names. You’ll feel much better once you’ve quit. As a non-smoker your stress levels will be lower, perfect timing for when the baby arrives!

Doesn’t the womb protect my baby from things like smoke? 😐

No. Your womb is amazing, but it doesn’t protect the baby from smoke.

Your baby shares your bloodstream, so they get all of the poisons from your cigarette.

Surely a low birth weight will  make giving birth easier? 😓

No. It’s a myth .It doesn’t lead to an easier birth!

Low birth weight adds to the risk of still birth. It makes your baby weak and more prone to disease. It also gives a higher risk of hearing loss, learning difficulties, sight problems and cerebral palsy.

My Mam smoked with me, i’m alright  so what’s the problem? 😏

Every year we learn more about smoking in pregnancy.  We now know that smoking while pregnant damages your baby and affects their health, even after they are born.

Do you really want to take that risk?

Oops, i didn’t know i was pregnant,  is it too late to quit smoking? 😨

No, it’s never too late to quit!

When you quit, your baby will benefit immediately as they will have their normal oxygen supply back.

Smoking is most harmful in the last five months of pregnancy so the sooner you quit the better!

My partner smokes, should they quit? 😇

Yes. Second-hand smoke can harm both you and the baby, increasing your risk of a miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects, cot death and problems that could affect your child for life like allergies and asthma.

If you both smoke, quit together, you’ll be stronger as a team!

How about cutting down? 😉

Cutting down is a great start, but it won’t get rid of all the harm for your baby.

Even a few cigarettes a day can cause lowbirth weight and other health problems.

Quitting smoking altogether as early as possible ensures much better health outcomes for the both of you.

Can i use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) while pregnant? 😳

Ideally you should try and quit without it. The nicotine in NRT can affect the baby’s development.

However, nicotine is just one of 4000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, so it’s much safer than smoking.

For the best advice about NRT, talk to your doctor or local pharmacist – they can tell you exactly what medicines to use.

What about e-cigarettes? 😐

E-cigarettes don’t produce as many harmful toxins as tobacco. They don’t produce carbon monoxide either (a poisonous gas from cigarette smoke which harms your baby). On the limited research available, they are safer than smoking cigarettes.

Before thinking about e-cigarettes, you should first consider nicotine replacement products (NRT) that have been tested.

What about smoking after the pregnancy? 😙

Would you really want to undo all your hard work?

It’s very important that babies and children have a smokefree environment to live in. Babies are at a particular risk from second-hand smoke, as their lungs are smaller, still developing and they take lots more breaths.

Remember, 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible.

Okay, so what are the benefits? 😄

Your baby will be healthy 👶

The risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirth and cot death are all reduced. Your child will have a lower risk of health problems, such as asthma and lung infections.

You’ll glow more 🌟

Your clothes and hair will smell cleaner and your skin will look better. You will feel sick less and you’ll be able to get more oxygen in your body, which can make labour a lot easier for you!

Guilt free! ☺️

Smoking can make you feel guilty, you will worry a lot about the harm smoking is doing to your baby. Once you quit you will be free from worrying and feeling guilty. Your baby will thank you for it.

Money money money 💷

You’ll save loads of money. People who smoke 20 a day could save over £2,800 a year by quitting smoking. Think of what you could buy with that!

Less stressed 😃

Smokers suffer nicotine withdrawal symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, every time their nicotine levels get too low.

Your health 

Your sense of taste will return and you will enjoy the taste of food, especially any cravings more! Your breathing and general fitness will improve. After one year smokefree you’ll reduce the risk of heart disease.

Samantha’s Story

“I was smoking between 10 and 20 a day and knew I had to give up but I couldn’t do it on my own. The help I got from my midwife Julie was brilliant. She came to the house and really helped me through it. She told me that we would set a date to quit and helped me prepare all week for that day. I got an inhaler and patches and within two days I’d quit and I haven’t smoked since but she still calls me up to see how I’m doing. The readings on the carbon monoxide monitor used to scare me because of what was going through to the baby – the reading was 18 before but is now down to 2. Now I can’t even stand the smell of smoke! “I would encourage other mums-to-be to just give it a go, but they need support and someone to help them through it.”

What support is available to me in Wales?

Your Midwife, Health Visitor, GP or Local Pharmacy

Best place to start. They will have all the answers, offer great support and give the right advice on nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

Help Online

Burning question about quitting smoking? Our online advisers are ready and waiting to give you all the advice you need for free on Facebook. 🙋

Help Me Quit

Help Me Quit is a new, free NHS service in Wales. They will help you to pick the best way to quit, whether that’s telephone support, one-to-one or group meetings or the local pharmacy.


Phone: 0800 085 2219 – Text: HMQ to 80818

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