1 for mums-to-be bby on the wy, quit tody WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW bout smoking nd pregnncy
2 uitting smoking is the best thing you cn do for your bby We know tht it cn be difficult to quit smoking. But we lso know tht you wnt to give your bby the best possible strt in life. Quitting smoking is the most importnt thing you cn do to improve your bby s helth, growth nd development. But there re mny old wives tles bout smoking during pregnncy tht ctully stop mums-to-be from quitting. So we thought we should shre the fcts you need to know. In this booklet you ll find nswers to the most commonly sked questions. Ech nswer gives you the fcts bout smoking nd your bby. No mtter wht stge you re t in your pregnncy, it s never too lte to stop smoking. And you re up to four times more likely to quit successfully with NHS support. Once you ve red this booklet, the best thing you cn do is get in touch with us. We re here to help you, your prtner nd your bby. q wht does smoking do to my bby? When you smoke, you brethe in over 4,000 chemicls from the cigrette. The smoke goes from your lungs into your bloodstrem. Tht blood flows to your plcent nd umbilicl cord right into your bby s tiny body. This cuses your bby to struggle for oxygen nd their tiny hert to pump even hrder. It s difficult to imgine when you cn t see your bby, but smoking when you re pregnnt is like blowing smoke in your bby s fce. When you smoke cigrette the poisons from the cigrette smoke re pssed on to your bby. Not only is this very distressing for your bby, but the exposure to these poisons cn lst up to 15 minutes t time. It s like putting your bby in smoke-filled room for 15 minutes! This hppens for ech nd every cigrette you smoke, so cutting down on your smoking rther thn quitting will still hve hrmful effect on your bby s wellbeing. Your bby s tiny body is completely dependent on yours, so if you smoke throughout your pregnncy, your bby will go through nicotine withdrwl once it is born. This cn mke your bby stressed nd irritble nd it my be difficult to stop them crying. And smoking while you re pregnnt increses the risks of your bby dying from cot deth by t lest 25%.
3 isn t the womb like protective bubble for my bby? Your womb protects your bby from lots of things. But becuse your bby shres your bloodstrem, it isn t protected from your cigrette smoke. Cigrettes contin over 4,000 chemicls, including crbon monoxide, hydrogen cynide nd rsenic. All those chemicls re pssed on to your bby every time you smoke. Smoking is the min cuse of low birth weight in bbies, which cn led to miscrrige, premture birth, stillbirth, illness nd cot deth. how the chemicls from cigrettes get to your bby When you smoke cigrette, the smoke psses through your lungs into your bloodstrem. Tht blood then moves round your body until it goes through the plcent nd umbilicl cord right into your bby s tiny body. The plcent protects your bby from some things but not from the poisons in cigrette smoke. Wht mkes it worse is tht crbon monoxide in cigrettes lso restricts the oxygen supply. So your bby gets less of the oxygen it needs to grow, nd tht cn ffect their development.
4 when i quit, isn t the stress worse for my bby? No. Smoking is fr more dmging to your helth nd your bby s helth thn ny stress tht comes from quitting. It s the crvings between cigrettes tht mke you feel stressed nd nxious, so when you smoke the cigrette you feel clmer. But you ll feel much less stressed once you quit nd don t hve crvings ny more. stopping smoking cn ctully reduce your stress levels You ll feel better nd helthier when you quit. Plus you re more likely to hve helthy nd nturl birth, which is much better for you nd your bby. You might be feeling stressed from time to time nd you might feel tht smoking helps you cope. But non-smokers normlly hve lower stress levels. So stopping smoking while you re pregnnt should bring your stress levels down.
5 i didn t know i ws pregnnt. is it too lte to stop smoking? It s never too lte for you to stop smoking. Once you stop smoking, you nd your bby will benefit immeditely nd the oxygen supply will quickly return to norml. Even if you ve smoked during the first few months of your pregnncy, you should quit now s smoking hs prticulrly hrmful effect on your bby s growth nd development. And if you quit by the 15th week of your pregnncy, the risk of your bby being born premturely or hving low birth weight is the sme s tht of non-smoker. why it s never too lte to stop smoking The simple fct is tht it s never too lte to stop smoking. Becuse the crbon monoxide in cigrettes restricts your bby s oxygen supply, every time you smoke it mkes your bby s tiny hert bet hrder. So once you stop smoking, you nd your bby will feel the difference immeditely. If you smoke in the lst five months of pregnncy it s even more hrmful to your bby s growth nd helth. So it s still worth stopping even if you ve smoked t the strt of your pregnncy. q my mum smoked nd i m fine. wht s the problem? Smoking ffects bbies in different wys, so just becuse you re fine it doesn t men you bby will be. why you should quit Every yer we lern more bout the helth risks of smoking in pregnncy. When our mums were pregnnt, we knew lot less bout the risks. We now know much more bout how smoking while you re pregnnt dmges your bby nd ffects their helth, even fter they re born. Smoking while you re pregnnt cn led to miscrrige, premture birth, stillbirth, illness nd cot deth, so stopping smoking is the most importnt thing you cn do to improve your bby s helth.
6 my prtner smokes, should they quit too? Yes, they should. Regulr exposure to secondhnd smoke increses the risk of you hving miscrrige. If your prtner smokes, you could find it much more difficult to quit successfully yourself. The children of smokers re three times more likely to grow up to be smokers themselves. how your prtner s smoke cn hrm your bby If your prtner smokes it not only ffects his helth, but your helth nd your bby s helth too. You re more likely to suffer miscrrige if your bby is regulrly exposed to secondhnd smoke during pregnncy. There s lso bigger risk of premture birth, stillbirth, low birthweight, birth defects nd problems tht could ffect your child for much longer like llergies, sthm, wheezing, ttention deficit disorder nd even cot deth. We know you d never wnt your bby to smoke. But the children of smokers re three times more likely to grow up to be smokers themselves. This mens they could be three times more likely to develop serious illness, disbility, or die premture deth from smoking. For more informtion on the free NHS support vilble to help your prtner quit, visit
7 will low birth weight bby mke giving birth esier? No. A low birth weight does not led to n esier birth. It lso dds to the risks of stillbirth nd results in your bby being weker nd more susceptible to disese. how low birth weight cn hrm your bby Not only does low birth weight not mke the birth ny esier, it ctully increses the risk of hrm to your bby. Some people sy tht they wnt to crry on smoking so tht they will hve smller bby nd n esier birth. It s true tht continuing to smoke will mke your bby smller becuse it will hve been strved of oxygen. But this doesn t men tht giving birth will be ny esier. A low birth weight dds to the risks of stillbirth, nd mkes your bby weker nd t greter risk of disese, with higher risk of hering loss, lerning difficulties nd sight problems, s well s cerebrl plsy. q cn i use nicotine replcement therpy while i m pregnnt? Idelly you should try to stop without using nicotine replcement therpy (NRT), but if you re finding it difficult there re severl options which re sfe to use in pregnncy. Remember, you re up to four times more likely to stop smoking successfully with NHS support. how nicotine replcement therpy cn help you quit successfully If it s going to help you quit, using NRT is much better option thn continuing smoking. The nicotine used in NRT is less hrmful thn the chemicls nd poisons in cigrettes. NRT for pregnnt women is vilble in six forms: ptches, gum, n inhltor, nsl spry, lozenges or microtbs. Don t worry if tht sounds complicted. You cn get dvice nd guidnce on NRT from your midwife, helth visitor, GP, phrmcist or pregnncy stop smoking specilist. And before using NRT you must hve tht converstion with n dviser. Only the experts cn tell you exctly wht medicines you should nd shouldn t use during pregnncy, nd they ll be hppy to help.
8 wht support is vilble to help me quit? The NHS offers plenty of support to help you quit. You cn sk your midwife, GP or phrmcist for more informtion on the support vilble, or visit for more informtion. NHS Smokefree Pregnncy helpline. You cn cll the Smokefree Pregnncy helpline on for specilist support from n dviser nd to find out more bout the free support the NHS offers. Locl NHS Stop Smoking Services. Get dvice nd work with trined, specilist dviser, either one-to-one or in group. You cn lso get dvice nd guidnce on using NRT. Nerly hlf of pregnnt women who set quit dte with their locl NHS Stop Smoking Service quit successfully. You cn lso get support nd informtion, including the free Quit Kit, from the Smokefree website t Expert help online. There s lso lots of help for you online. You cn cht to n online dviser t or shre your experiences nd tips with other people who re quitting smoking by visiting our Fcebook pge t Quit Kit. If you would prefer to stop by yourself there s extr free support to help you in the form of the Quit Kit, which is box of prcticl tools nd dvice developed with experts, smokers nd ex-smokers, which hs helped thousnds of smokers quit successfully. You cn order yours online t we re here to help you If you need to tlk to someone bout nything in this booklet on your unborn bby s helth, plese sk. You cn: Tlk to your midwife or GP Cll the NHS Smokefree Pregnncy helpline on (Weekdys 9m 8pm. Weekend 11m 5pm) Or textphone Go to To find your locl NHS Stop Smoking Service text QUIT plus your postcode to Crown copywright k August 2012 (SLS) Produced by Willims Le for the Deprtment of Helth.
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