Pregnancy and Smoking

If you are pregnant and a smoker, it is important to cut back or really stop smoking as soon as possible. If you live in Bucks County, PA, you don’t have to do it alone. We offer a free smoking cessation program that gives you all of the support you need.  

Why is it dangerous to smoke when you are pregnant?

Smoking while pregnant puts both you and your baby at risk of serious health effects. Every puff of a cigarette (e-cigarette, vaping product, or any tobacco product) releases harmful chemicals into your system that will impact your pregnancy and your baby. Our goal is not to scare you but to support you as you quit. We applaud you for just researching the idea, and we are here to help you with BCHIP’s free smoking cessation class. Even if you are far into your pregnancy, it’s never too late to stop. Every cigarette or tobacco product you don’t smoke is that much less toxin in your baby’s system. 

Some of the risks to you from smoking during pregnancy include:

  • Abnormal bleeding, placenta abruption, placenta previa
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Preterm delivery, premature rupture of membranes
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth (smoking doubles the risk) 

Smoking can even decrease fertility, reducing the chance of a woman conceiving in any given cycle by 40%. In men, smoking can damage sperm, which can mean either poor fertility or unhealthy babies, and can contribute to impotence. 

Some of the risks to your baby from smoking during pregnancy include:

  • Birth defects like cleft palate or cleft lip
  • Heart defects
  • Preterm birth, which can lead to poorly developed hearing, eyesight, lungs, heart
  • Low birth weight, which often leads to additional health problems in life
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – SIDS is 22% more likely in babies whose mothers smoked while pregnant 

Second-hand smoke can be detrimental to newborns as well, increasing their risk of upper respiratory infections, asthma, and ear infections. 

Questions about quitting while pregnant

What if I fail?
Don’t worry. If you join a good support group, like our Quit Smoking Program, you will have the support you need to keep you on track and decrease the likelihood of giving in to the urge to smoke. But even if you do, we will be there to give you moral support and advice to help you start the quitting process again. Remember, any decrease in cigarette smoke will be healthier for you and your baby.

I’m already pregnant and stressed – I relax with a cigarette. Isn’t it better for my baby if I’m less stressed?
In our program, we help you discover de-stressing activities that will actually help you and your baby be healthier and calmer. Many people use smoking as an easy crutch to lean on. But it’s a very expensive habit, and finances are one of the biggest stressors in most people’s lives. And you will likely find, as you detox from nicotine, that smoking was actually making you feel more stressed than you realized. The calming effects are temporary, lasting only until you need another cigarette. We’ll help you find a better way to calm down.

Isn’t it too late to quit now? I’m halfway through my pregnancy.
As mentioned above, it’s never too late to quit. With every puff you don’t take, you are helping your baby grow healthy. And once your baby is born, he or she will have clean air to breathe, rather than secondhand smoke.

I already had a healthy baby while smoking. Why worry about it now?
The risks to your baby and your own health are significant. If you and your older child were fortunate enough to dodge the odds, there’s no guarantee you will again. You are older and have been smoking longer, and every baby is different. Ask yourself, too, if your older child has frequent colds, breathing issues, allergies, or other health problems that may not have been obvious at birth but have set in since. These may be the result of systems developing poorly during pregnancy.

Give your baby the best chance at a healthy start in life and protect yourself from pregnancy complications. Look into our free Quit Smoking Program here.


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