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Quit for your health. Quit for your baby’s health.

Why stop smoking?

Quitting smoking has great health benefits for women of all ages. If you are pregnant or want to get pregnant, stop smoking now to reduce the harm to both you and your baby. The simple truth is that smoking harms your health. As a smoker, you have an increased risk of:

  • Lung and other cancers
  • Heart disease, stroke and emphysema
  • Pregnancy complications

How quitting helps you

Quitting smoking makes you healthier and a better example for your kids. We all want to be there for our kids. Here are just a few benefits of quitting:

  • Gives you more energy and helps you breathe easier
  • Saves you money that you can spend on other things
  • Fewer health problems
  • Feel pride in your success

Bad News: If you smoke, studies show that you may have more trouble getting pregnant than nonsmokers.

Good News: Studies show that your chance of getting pregnant goes back to normal after you stop smoking.

Bad News: Smoking cigarettes doubles a woman's risk of bleeding too much during delivery, which can put both mom and baby in danger.

Good News: Quitting lowers your risk of bleeding, making a better chance of a safe delivery for you and your baby.

Bad News: Pregnant smokers are more likely to deliver their baby early. Babies born early have more serious health problems than babies born near their due date.

Good News: If you quit smoking before or during pregnancy, you are less likely to have your baby early.

How quitting helps your baby

Quitting smoking benefits your baby before and after birth. Smoking is linked to a higher chance of having many serious birth defects, health problems, and even the death of the baby. But quitting smoking reduces these chances.

Quitting smoking during pregnancy:

  • Increases the amount of air your baby will get
  • Increases the chances your baby’s lungs will work well
  • Lowers the risk of your baby having birth defects
  • Lowers the risk that your baby will be born too early
  • Increases your chances of having a normal-weight, healthy baby
  • Increases the chances your baby will come home from the hospital with you

Bad News: Babies of moms who smoke during and after pregnancy are 2 to 3 times more likely to die from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome, also called “crib death”) than babies with non-smoking moms.

Good News: When you stop smoking during pregnancy, your baby has less of a chance of dying from SIDS.

Bad News: Smoking during pregnancy increases the chances of your baby having serious birth defects or disability. Continuing to smoke puts your baby at risk for heart defects, short arms or legs, clubfoot, cleft palate, and other deformities and disabilities. Babies born with these problems require a lot of extra care and may need corrective surgeries throughout their lifetime.

Good News: Quitting smoking before or early in your pregnancy lowers the chance of your baby developing a serious physical birth defect.

Bad News: Smoking during pregnancy slows the growth of the baby before it is born. The more a pregnant woman smokes, the greater her chance of having a low-birth-weight baby who weighs less than 5½ pounds. Low-birth-weight babies often have health problems as a result of being born so small.

Good News: Quitting smoking before you get pregnant reduces your chance of having a low-birth-weight baby to that of a woman who never smoked. Even if you quit during your first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy, you will have a much healthier baby than if you keep smoking.

Quitting smoking also decreases your chance of going into labor 3 weeks early or more. If your baby is born this early, he or she may face serious health problems right away, disabilities (such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and learning problems) that will never go away, and even death.

How quitting helps your newborn

It is important to stay smoke-free after your baby is born. Parents should not smoke at home and should ask visitors to do the same. Here is what you can look forward to seeing if your baby is not exposed to smoke:

  • Fewer ear infections than other babies
  • Fewer chest colds and coughs, such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Fewer asthma and wheezing problems
  • Lower risk of SIDS
  • Decreased likelihood of becoming a smoker as an adult

For more information visit Secondhand Smoke - Protecting Your Family

Now that you know how it helps ... QUIT TODAY!

Many women are able to quit smoking during early pregnancy. Studies show that you are more likely to successfully quit smoking while pregnant if you:

  • Understand the harmful effects of smoking
  • Have tried to quit in the past
  • Have a partner who does not smoke
  • Get support from family or other important people in their lives

Support is available

Women who have depression and other mood disorders may find it harder to quit. If this sounds like you, you are not alone. At least 1 out of 3 pregnant women who smoke have a mood disorder like depression. Although it can be a common challenge, women with depression can still quit smoking for good, and it is worth it! Learn more about depression.

Resources for women:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Smoking and Tobacco Fact Sheet: Women and Smoking. February 28, 2007.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What Do We Know About Tobacco Use and Pregnancy. June 11, 2007.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2004. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, Atlanta Georgia, May 2004.


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