Whether you are an expectant mum or a health professional working with pregnant smokers we’ve got plenty of information and resources for you to download below.
We want to help mothers to make that healthier lifestyle choice and enable health professionals to have conversations with pregnant women about smoking.
How does smoking harm an unborn baby?
When you smoke, you breathe in over 4,000 chemicals from a cigarette.
Those chemicals go from your lungs straight into your bloodstream.
That blood flows to the placenta & umbilical cord into your baby’s body.
Smoke stays in the womb for up to 15 mins, restricting their oxygen supply.
Their tiny heart has to beat harder every time you smoke. Your baby is completely dependent on you, if you smoke your baby smokes.
They’re likely to go through nicotine withdrawal when they are born. Your baby will be stressed, more irritable and harder to settle down.
There’s also an increased risk of cot death. A baby whose mum smoked is 25% more likely to die from cot death.
Questions often asked by mothers
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 trying to distract yourself by doing things like writing a list of baby names for example. This will help you focus on why you quit. You’ll also feel much better once you’ve quit. As a non-smoker your stress levels will be lower, perfect timing for when the baby arrives!
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 low birth weight and other health problems. Quitting smoking altogether as early as possible ensures much better health outcomes for the both of you..
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.
Women who live with a smoker are 6 times more likely to smoke throughout pregnancy. Those who live with a smoker and manage to quit are more likely to relapse to smoking after the baby is born.If you both smoke, quit together, you’ll be stronger as a team.
“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.”
Your Midwife, Health Visitor, GP or Local Pharmacy
If you’re looking to quit smoking for your baby, these people have all the answers, offer great support and give the right advice on nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
Are you a health professional looking for extra resources?
Our information pack is filled answers to a range of questions that might be asked, plus signposting and next steps
We also have a range of materials which can be used in waiting rooms, during consultations and on social media.
Alternatively if you’d like us to send you these materials in the post please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org