​Cigarette smoke contains poisonous chemicals such as carbon monoxide and ammonia, which are absorbed into the bloodstream. When a pregnant woman smokes, these chemicals pass from her blood stream into the baby’s blood.

However, if the mother quits smoking before becoming pregnant, the effects of smoking on the baby are reduced. The most damaging effects of smoking happen from the fourth month to the ninth month of pregnancy, when the baby’s lungs are developing.

What Smoking is Doing to Your Baby

The health risks to your baby include:

  • lower birth weight

  • slower growth of your baby

  • higher chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

  • damage to airways which could cause breathing problems or asthma

​The Health Risks Grow With Your Children

Children in a home where one or both parents smoke are at risk of:

  • frequent bouts of cold and coughs

  • asthma attacks or chest infections

  • meningitis

  • ‘glue ear’ and partial deafness

  • becoming smokers when they grow up

  • lung cancer when they are adults

​The Perfect Time To Quit Is Now

If you’re thinking of quitting, you’re taking a step in the right direction. Try these strategies to make it happen:

  • have a quit plan

  • get the support of your family and friends

  • stay away from people, places and situations which might tempt you to smoke, at least for the first few days after quitting

  • avoid temptation; throw away all cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays

  • think of the healthy head start you are giving your baby

  • change your daily routine to break up your habits and patterns

    • do things that require you to use your hands, like household chores, handicraft or gardening

    • nibble on healthy snacks (like carrot sticks or fruit) and drink plenty of water

    • exercise regularly. Regular exercise relieves stress and helps you cope with your pregnancy

    • learn relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises and muscle relaxation to relieve tension and stress

    • if you miss holding a cigarette in your hand, use some other object instead – like a pencil, paper clip, coin or toothpick

    • ​pregnant women can usually use Nicotine Replacement Therapy products, but do speak to your health professional first, to find out if it is right for you

Further Help and Information

To find out more about the help available to quit smoking and for advice on what methods and strategies would suit you best, please contact QuitLine 1800 438 2000.​