Pregnant or Planning to Have a Baby
In 2010, data from 27 PRAMS sites, representing 52% of live births, showed that among women with recent live births:*
- About 23% reported smoking in the 3 months prior to pregnancy.
- More than half of these smokers (54%) reported that they quit smoking by the last 3 months of pregnancy.
- Almost 11% reported smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy.
- Almost 16% reported smoking after delivery.
If you’re pregnant or planning to have a baby, you probably know that smoking cigarettes 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 cigarettes can be serious. For example, your baby can be born too early or have a birth defect. And even if you smoked cigarettes and had a healthy pregnancy in the past, that does not mean it’s safe to smoke during your next pregnancy. When you smoke cigarettes 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.
- Babies who are around cigarette smoke are more likely to have ear infections and breathing problems.
Though quitting smoking can be hard, the benefits are worth it!
- You’ll increase your chances of having a healthy baby.
- You’ll breathe better.
- You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to be active.
Learn what percent of people currently smoke cigarettes, both in the United States overall and among specific populations.
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.
Get free help to quit smoking by calling a quitline: 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.
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. Additional resources include:
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.”