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Smoking and pregnancy

Published: 07/12/2015

This information is for you if you smoke and are either already pregnant or thinking about having a baby. It is also for you if you are exposed to tobacco smoke at home. Partners and relatives of women who smoke may also find it helpful.

Many women find it difficult to stop smoking but it is one of the most important things you can do to improve your baby’s health, growth and development. It is also the single most important thing that you can do to improve your own long-term health. It’s never too late to stop smoking and your healthcare team will be supportive throughout your pregnancy.

Key points from this information

  • Smoking in pregnancy is harmful to you and your baby
  • Passive smoking can also harm you and your baby
  • A baby that is small due to smoking is not a healthy baby
  • If you smoke, the best thing you can do is stop. Stopping at any time in pregnancy will help, though the sooner the better
  • You should stop completely (rather than just cut down), ideally before getting pregnant
  • You and your partner will be offered help, advice and support to stop smoking
  • You will be offered a carbon monoxide (CO) test early in your pregnancy
  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is safe to use in pregnancy
  • E-cigarettes are currently not recommended for use in pregnancy

This patient information leaflet is based on the NICE Public Health Guidance Smoking: stopping in pregnancy and after childbirth, and the NICE Clinical Guideline Antenatal care for uncomplicated pregnancies.

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