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Tobacco Use and Pregnancy

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  But that doesn’t make quitting easy.   Smoking before, during and after pregnancy is harmful to both you and your baby.  It’s never too late to gift yourself and your new baby a healthier future and quit.

If you continue to smoke while you’re pregnant, it can cause serious harm to your baby’s health.  Every pregnancy is different and even if you smoked during your last pregnancy and had a healthy baby, that does not mean smoking during pregnancy is safe. Quitting smoking at any time during pregnancy – especially early on – can give your baby a healthier start in life.

Smoking can cause complications during your pregnancy, such as:

  • Miscarriage
  • Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Placental Abruption
  • Placental Previa
  • Preeclampsia
  • Preterm Birth

Quitting before you give birth will give your baby these benefits:

  • Less risk of being born too early.
  • Less risk of being born with birth defects like cleft lip or cleft palate.
  • Higher chance of having a healthy birth weight (more than 5.5 pounds) and growing on track.
  • More likely to come home from the hospital with you and not to stay in the hospital until they are healthy enough to go home.
  • Increased chance lungs will develop well.
  • More likely to have normal brain development before birth and through early childhood.
  • Less likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

E-cigarettes should not be used during pregnancy. This is because e-cigarettes usually contain nicotine, which can hurt pregnant women and their babies.  Nicotine is addictive and can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs.  E-cigarettes may also contain other substances that are harmful to a developing baby, like heavy metals, flavorings and cancer-causing chemicals.

There is little evidence that e-cigarettes help people quit.  Quitting all forms of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is best for you and your baby.  Talk to your health care provider about proven, safe and effective quit methods.

Visit to learn more about e-cigarettes.

Once you bring your baby home, it’s just as important to stay smokefree and protect your baby from cigarettes or secondhand smoke. Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are more likely to have certain health problems or die from SIDS.

Protect your baby from secondhand smoke by avoiding smoking around your baby, spending time in places that do not allow smoking, and making your house and car smokefree.  This is important because babies and young children living in smokefree environments typically have:

  • Fewer coughs and chest colds.
  • Lower chances of getting bronchitis or pneumonia.
  • Fewer ear infections.
  • Less frequent and less severe asthma, if they have asthma.
  • Fewer missed school days because of asthma attacks and breathing illnesses.
  • Less of a chance of becoming smokers as adults.
  • Lower chances of dying from SIDS.

Smoking while breastfeeding does expose the baby to nicotine and other harmful substances through breastmilk.  If it’s not the right time for you to quit, you can help your baby by following a plan to reduce your baby’s exposure to cigarette smoke.

  • Smoke right after breastfeeding and avoid smoking right before.  Your body will have more time to clear the nicotine from breast milk.
  • Make your house and car smokefree to keep your baby away from secondhand smoke.
  • Try cutting down on the number of cigarettes you smoke.
  • Don’t smoke while you’re feeding your baby.  She or he will inhale your smoke or could get burned by the cigarette.
  • Wash hands after smoking and before touching baby.

Call the 24/7 Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline today!

English: 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669)
Spanish: 1-855-DEJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569)
TTY: 877-777-6534
Video relay: 866-748-2436

The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline provides FREE non-judgmental support, as well as tobacco-cessation resources and tips to quit smoking.  Plus, it’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline provides:

  • An eight-week supply of free patches, gum or lozenges
  • Coaching calls with a certified Quit Coach
  • Web coaching with an online community
  • Supportive text messages with tips and motivation
  • Helpful emails to manage cravings
  • Quit Guide 

Contact Information