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Tobacco Use and Pregnancy

Man and pregnant woman looking at a sonogram and clear about the fact that smoking is bad for their baby. Learn more at www.BeTobaccoFree.gov.

Is smoking while pregnant harmful?

Image from women.smokefree.gov of woman holding her pregnant belly.It is never safe to smoke. Smoking while pregnant:

  • Affects the placenta—the source of your baby’s food and oxygen
  • Lowers the amount of oxygen available to you and your growing baby
  • Increases:
    • Your baby's heart rate
    • The risk that your baby will be born prematurely
    • The risk that your baby will be born with low birth weight
    • Your baby's risk of developing respiratory problems
    • The chances of stillbirth
    • The risk for certain birth defects like a cleft lip or cleft palate
    • The risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Additionally, children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are at greater risk of:

  • Behavioral problems, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Learning disorders
  • Becoming smokers

Pregnant women who smoke should quit – if not permanently then at least through their pregnancy.

Infographic showing how smoking affects your pregnancy and your children. For a text-version of the information displayed on the infographic, use the link after the image. Learn more at www.BeTobaccoFree.gov.

Infographic text-only version.

I am pregnant and I smoke. Is it too late to quit?

If you are pregnant, it is never too late to quit smoking. There are benefits to quitting smoking at any stage of your pregnancy. Quitting as soon as possible will help protect you and your baby from some health problems, such as low birth weight.

For more information and for resources to help you quit, please visit smokefreewomen at http://women.smokefree.gov/

Shouldn’t it be easy for me to quit smoking while pregnant?

No. Quitting smoking is hard for most women. Women who were smoking when they got pregnant often have to make more than one attempt to quit for good.  Learn more about quitting.

Is it harmful to smoke again after my baby is born?

You might think it is safe to start smoking again after your baby is born, but your baby is not out of harm's way. Babies who are around cigarette smoke:

  • Have weaker lungs than other babies
  • Are more likely to have health problems such as infections and more frequent asthma attacks
  • Are at increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Learn more about secondhand smoke.

Protect your baby.

  • Do not allow anyone to smoke near your child.
  • Do not smoke or let others smoke in your home or car.
  • Use childcare providers who do not smoke.
  • Do not eat in restaurants that allow smoking.
  • Do not take your child to other indoor public places that allow smoking.
  • Teach children to stay away from secondhand smoke.

I smoke. Can I breastfeed my baby?

Yes, you should breastfeed. Breast milk is good for your baby. However, smoking may make it difficult to breastfeed because it:

  • Changes your breast milk
  • Disrupt your baby’s sleeping patterns
  • May cause you to have problems releasing milk

For your health and your baby’s, you should quit smoking.

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