Having a healthy pregnancy if you smoke

If you’re pregnant and a smoker, you probably already know that smoking isn’t the best thing for you or your baby. But giving up smoking can be hard. If you have already tried, the last thing you want is someone lecturing you, but it’s helpful to be fully informed.

Find a stop smoking service

Maternal smoking is associated with a 47% increase in the risk of stillbirth,

a 27% increased risk of pre-term birth and an 82% increased risk of a low birthweight baby.

Smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of your baby being born with abnormalities of the heart, limbs, and face.

What happens to your baby when you smoke?

When you smoke, the harmful chemicals in cigarettes travel from your lungs, to your bloodstream and then through your placenta to your baby. As a result, your baby struggles for oxygen and this affects their development.

What are the benefits of quitting?

  • Stopping smoking can reduce your risk of miscarriage or still birth.
  • You’ll reduce your risk of giving birth prematurely and of your baby being born underweight.
  • You will reduce your baby’s risk of sudden infant death (SIDS, also known as cot death).
  • You will improve your baby’s chance of having healthy lungs as they grow – reducing the risk of asthma.

How we are helping people in Sussex have safe pregnancies and healthy babies

What are we doing?

We are working across the whole of Sussex to try and help more people have safe pregnancies and healthy babies.
When it comes to helping people stop smoking, here are the things we’re doing:

  • Identifying smokers and supporting them to quit.
  • Providing education, health promotion and targeted support for people who are planning a pregnancy, pregnant or who have recently given birth.
  • Targeting our resources. Young pregnant people and those living in deprived areas are more likely to smoke, so those are the groups we’re trying to reach first.

What can you do?

  • If giving up entirely is too difficult, try to reduce the number of times you smoke each day.
  • Avoid passive smoking. If people who live with you or visit you are smoking, ask them to smoke outdoors.
  • Consider vaping instead. While still more damaging than not smoking, Public Health England research has found vaping to be 95% less damaging than smoking standard cigarettes.
  • Ask for help from your midwife, health visitor, GP or pharmacist. They can put you in touch with stop smoking service and make sure you get the support you need.

Stop smoking services

There are a range of services available to help you stop smoking, from NHS apps and websites to support from a dedicated health trainer.

Sussex Equity & Equality Programme

We are changing our services to improve Perinatal Equity and Equality in Sussex

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