Smoking is bad for you and for baby. Please quit. Help is available.

It’s an old message and a well-known one, but giving up cigarette smoking is so much easier to say than it is to do. Nicotine is really addictive and it’s very easy to get hooked. It is always in your best interest to quit smoking, but when you are pregnant, it is even more important, due to the risk to your baby.

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Smoking

Reduces the oxygen going to baby
Increases the risk of your baby dying
Babies are at higher risk of dying both before and after they are born

There are lots of risks to both mum and baby from smoking during pregnancy, including when mum is not smoking but dad or other people around mum are. This is known as “passive smoking” and it is best if no-one around baby smokes, before or after they are born.

Some of the increased risks during the pregnancy

  • ectopic pregnancy (e.g. where baby is growing in the tube instead of the uterus)

  • miscarriage

  • stillbirth (e.g. baby dying before they are born)

  • baby being born too soon (prematurity)

Some of the increased risks to baby

  • the placenta is damaged by smoking and this means baby may not grow and develop properly

  • smoking affects baby’s lungs, weakening them and increasing the chance they will get asthma

  • baby has a higher chance of having a cleft lip or cleft palate

  • baby has about a three times higher chance of dying of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

  • on average, baby will weigh less, but this increases their risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes as adults

  • even though they may be small at birth, baby is more likely to be overweight or obese as they grow older

  • they are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • they are more likely to get middle ear infections

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Help

Is available from so many places
Ask your midwife or doctor
Quitline can help
Ideas on how to quit

NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY (NRT) CAN SAFELY BE USED IN PREGNANCY!

The nicotine in gum/lozenges/patches/inhalator/sprays is safer than the nicotine + thousands of other substances (some of which cause cancer and damage the lungs) which is found in cigarettes
Some people find the gum/lozenges/inhalator/spray forms cause more nausea than the patch
If you use a patch, take the patch off overnight, don’t use the 24 hour one
Prescription medication such as Champix and Zyban are NOT recommended
The sooner you stop smoking, the better it is for you and your baby, but it is never too late to stop
Contact your local Quitline as they have special programs to help pregnant mums and dads to quit
You may need to use NRT for 12 weeks or more, but that is STILL safer than smoking!
There’s an app for that: Quit for You - Quit for Two

Help to Quit is a good website with practical advice for any smokers (dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends)

Pregnancy specific resources are available from Raising Children, Tommys, NSW Health and Pregnancy Birth and Baby

PS Thank you Kirsty for your help in finding these resources!