Tobacco smoke contains over 7000 poisonous chemicals including carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide significantly reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that pass across the placenta to the baby each time a cigarette is smoked. This affects the growth and development of the baby and increases the risk of:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Birth abnormalities – cleft lip and palate, heart defects, shortened limbs
- Stillbirth (risk increased by 50%)
- Unexplained bleeding during pregnancy
- Placental Abruption (a life threatening condition where the placenta detaches prematurely before the baby’s birth)
- Fetal distress during labour and birth
- Low birthweight
- Premature birth
- Neonatal death (risk increased by 20%)
Babies who are small at birth due to smoking are much weaker and are poorly developed. They are more likely to have serious health problems in childhood such as:
- Asthma, wheeze and recurrent chest infections
- Ear infections, glue ear and hearing loss
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – 25% more likely
Babies born to mothers who smoke are 27 times more likely to die before their 1st birthday.
There are no safe levels of smoking. Even 1 cigarette can greatly restrict the flow of oxygen to your baby for up to 15 minutes. There is evidence that cutting down the number of cigarettes that you smoke is just as harmful to you and your baby.
Your midwife will refer you to a local Stop Smoking Service, or you can refer yourself. The Stop Smoking Service is friendly, free and confidential and can offer you quit support and advice in a variety of local venues including pharmacies, libraries, GP surgeries and shopping centres or telephone support is available if you prefer.
One You Kent
Tel: 0300 123 1220
Smoke free Bexley
Tel: 0800 783 2514
A range of NRTs are available which are safe for use during pregnancy which can help with any cravings you may experience such as:
- Chewing Gum
Is NRT safe for use during pregnancy?
Yes, NRT products provide clean nicotine to help with cigarette cravings and are safe and effective in helping people to quit smoking. NRT is much safer than continuing to smoke as it does not contain the thousands of toxic chemicals and tar that cigarettes do. The stop smoking advisor will be able to tell you how to obtain these products free of charge during your pregnancy.
Other medicines to help smokers to quit such as Champix and Zyban are not suitable for use by pregnant women.
Electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vapes are now a popular alternative to smoking tobacco, but do not contain the thousands of chemicals found in cigarette smoke such as carbon monoxide and tar. They come in a variety of flavours and nicotine strengths and current government advice suggests that they are 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes.
To get in contact with our smoking cessation Midwife, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07735750175