Pregnant or Planning to Have a Baby

Know the Facts

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. For example, your baby can be born too early or have a birth defect. And even 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 sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Babies who are around cigarette smoke have weaker lungs than babies who are not around cigarette smoke. In addition, babies who are around cigarette smoke are more likely to have infections and breathing problems.

Though quitting can be hard, the benefits are worth it!

  • You’ll breathe better.
  • You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to be active.
  • You’ll increase your chances of having a healthy baby.

For More Information

  • Detailed Statistics Learn about smoking among specific populations and the current rates of cigarette smoking in the United States.

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Real Stories: Pregnancy Problems Featured in Tips®

Learn the real stories of families who suffered health problems related to smoking during pregnancy.

AmandaMeet 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.

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Quitting Help

To get started right now, see our How to Quit Smoking area featuring a Quit Guide website and an additional Quitting Resources page.

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 WomenExternal
    Information on quitting, mood, stress, body weight, and more for women at all stages of life, including pregnancy
  • Free or low-cost quit counseling for pregnant women through Medicaid

Quit-smoking treatments may be free or reduced in price through insurance, health plans, or clinics. State Medicaid programs cover quit-smoking treatments. While the coverage varies by state, all states cover some treatments for at least some Medicaid enrollees.

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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:

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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.”