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What happens if you smoke while pregnant?

Doctors always recommend to avoid smoking completely while pregnant

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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As the old saying goes, when you're pregnant you're eating, sleeping and breathing for two. What you do has a direct impact on the foetus and smoking is no exception.

What happens if you smoke during pregnancy?

Quitting smoking before you become pregnant, or at least once you have become pregnant, is the very best thing you can do for your own and your baby’s health. If you smoke when pregnant, the poisonous substances you breathe in from cigarettes get into your bloodstream and from there into the baby’s bloodstream as well.

You and your unborn baby deserve the best chance of good health, especially since you are responsible for your baby's health. It's important to think seriously about the effects smoking, vaping, alcohol or other drugs and substances can have on you and your unborn baby.

READ: Ready to quit smoking? Here's how.

Quitting will benefit both you and your baby immediately.  Harmful gases like carbon monoxide and other toxins will clear from your body. Smoking cigarettes can effect the baby's development and health inside your womb, and can have consequences for their health later in life as well.

If you vape or smoke cigarettes, you and the foetus will experience the effects of nicotine as well, impacting their health and brain. 

Smoking while pregnant can also increase the chances of miscarriage, premature birth or stillbirth. 

The benefits of not smoking when pregnant:

  • You will have less morning sickness and fewer complications in pregnancy
  • You are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby
  • You will reduce the risk of stillbirth
  • You will cope better with the birth
  • Your baby is less likely to be born too early and have to face the additional breathing, feeding and health problems that often go with being premature
  • You will reduce the risk of cot death, also called sudden infant death
  • Stopping smoking will also benefit your baby later in life.  Children whose parents smoke are more likely to suffer from asthma and other more serious illnesses that may need hospital treatment.
  • When you quit you will have more money for the expense of a new baby. Bringing baby home to a smoke free home is the best start you can give to your baby.
  • Your breast milk will be a better quality and better supply for feeding your baby. Remember if you are smoking, the nicotine will be present in the breast milk and pass on to the baby.

READ: Learn even more about smoking and your health

Get help to QUIT smoking

  • Visit SpunOut's  page on quitting smoking
  • Visit for tips on how to quit, or visit the Quit Facebook page to read stories from smokers who are quitting, and to share your own.
  • Call the Quitline on Freephone 1800 201 203 to talk to someone who understands and can help you quit.

Disclaimer: There is more than one way to quit smoking. You may need to try a few different things to find what is right for you. For advice and support on quitting, visit

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Published Feb­ru­ary 20th2013
Last updated Jan­u­ary 25th2019
Tags pregnancy smoking quit smoking
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