Pregnant or Planning to Have a Baby
If you’re pregnant or planning to have a baby, you probably know that smoking is a health threat for you and your baby. Many women make it a goal to quit during this time in their lives.
It's most helpful for you and your baby to quit smoking before you get pregnant. But if you’re already pregnant, quitting can still help protect you and your baby from health problems. Health problems caused by smoking can be serious, and they can happen to anyone.
- Your baby can be born too early, have a birth defect, or die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- If you smoked and had a healthy pregnancy in the past, that does not mean it's safe to smoke during your next pregnancy. When you smoke during pregnancy, you put your health and your baby's health at risk.
Some women might think it is safe to start smoking again after their baby is born. But your baby is not out of harm's way.
- Babies who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to die from SIDS.
- Babies who are around cigarette smoke have weaker lungs than other babies. They are more likely to have infections and breathing problems.
- Though quitting can be hard, the benefits are worth it!
For More Information
- Detailed Statistics Learn about smoking in specific populations and the current rates of cigarette smoking in the United States.
Learn the real stories of families who suffered health problems related to smoking during pregnancy.
Meet Amanda. Amanda, age 30, lives in Wisconsin and began smoking in fifth grade. She smoked during pregnancy, and her baby was born 2 months early. Her tiny girl spent weeks in an incubator.
Learn more about all Tips participants in our Real Stories section.
You can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Quitline coaches can answer questions, help you develop a quit plan, and provide support.
Special quitting help for women includes:
- Smokefree Women
Information on quitting, mood, stress, body weight, and more for women at all stages of life, including pregnancy
- Free quit counseling for pregnant women through Medicaid
Medicare currently covers quit-smoking treatments. The benefit covers two tobacco cessation attempts per year and up to four face-to-face counseling sessions per attempt.
Several provisions of the Affordable Care Act expand private health insurance and Medicaid coverage of proven quit-smoking treatments.
Support a Quitter
Most pregnant women who smoke want to quit, but quitting isn't always easier during pregnancy. What's more, if you're pregnant and still smoking, you may feel ashamed and alone.
The right kind of support can help a pregnant woman to get through the unique challenges of quitting during this phase of life. Special guidance is available for you and for the people around you. These resources include:
- Feelings, Partners, and Friends
- Quitting With Help From Friends
- 12 Ways to Help Her Quit Smoking
- Pregnancy, Motherhood, and Smoking
On this Page
Amanda smoked while she was pregnant. Her baby was born 2 months early and was kept in an incubator.
"I’ll never forget her tiny, little cry. It wasn’t like the cries you hear; you know—a loud, screaming, typical baby cry. It was just this soft, little cry."
- Page last reviewed: June 30, 2014
- Page last updated: July 22, 2014
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