Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do for your baby. Our friendly pregnancy stop smoking advisors can support you to quit smoking during your pregnancy and postnatally. Smoking is far more damaging to your baby's health, and your health, than any stress that comes from quitting. Smoking can restrict oxygen getting to your baby, making their heart beat faster every time you smoke. Your baby may also suffer from nicotine withdrawal once they are born.
How does smoking affect your baby?
Every cigarette you smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including a poisonous gas called carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide restricts the essential oxygen supply to your baby. As a result, their heart must beat harder every time you smoke.
Benefits of stopping smoking in pregnancy
- You will reduce the risk of complications in pregnancy and birth
- You will reduce the risk of still birth
- You are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and baby
- You will reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- You will reduce the risks of your baby having asthma, eczema and ADHD
- You baby is less likely to be born with a low birth weight. Babies with a low birth weight are at a higher risk of infection
Testing for carbon monoxide
You will have a carbon monoxide test at every antenatal appointment. You blow into a machine which measures the carbon monoxide in your body and you get the results straightaway.
If the result is 4 or more, your midwife will ask you whether you smoke, whether you live in a house where someone else smokes, or if you have been exposed to carbon monoxide by other environmental factors e.g. a faulty gas/heating appliance or car exhaust fumes. You will also be offered a referral to our Healthy Pregnancy team who will support you to reduce your carbon monoxide to a safe level.
If you think you have been exposed to carbon monoxide through a faulty gas appliance, call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 for expert advice.
How we can support you
Our friendly Stop Smoking Pregnancy advisors are able to help you quit smoking, during your pregnancy and postnatally. They can offer advice on:
- Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT is free on prescription during pregnancy)
- Carbon monoxide in your home
- Partners who are also interested in quitting
For more information either ask your midwife for a referral, call us on: 01209 615600 or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicotine replacement therapy
NRT contains only nicotine and none of the damaging chemicals found in cigarettes and eases withdrawal symptoms. NRT products are free of charge, safe to use in pregnancy and can increase the chances of quitting successfully. Our Stop Smoking advisors can arrange NRT prescriptions for you during pregnancy.
E-cigarettes allow you to inhale nicotine through a vapour rather than smoke and do not produce tar or carbon monoxide. E-cigarettes are not completely risk free, but current evidence estimates they are at least 95% less harmful. If using an e-cigarette helps you to stop smoking, it is much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke. Find out more about the safety of e-cigarettes in the video below:
Smoke free homes and support for partners
More than 80% of secondhand smoke is invisible and odourless, so no matter how careful you think you're being, your family still breathes in harmful poisons, putting them at risk of meningitis, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia. Opening windows and doors or smoking in another room in the house will not make it safe for those around you. Babies exposed to second-hand smoke are more at risk of cot death.
If your partner or any member of your household would like help to stop smoking, call us on: 01209 615600 or fill in our online enquiry form.
Protect your family from second hand smoke | NHS Smokefree
Second hand smoke | Action on Smoking and Health