Stopping smoking is the single most important thing you can do to protect your health. If you’re pregnant, or even thinking about getting pregnant, giving up will help protect your baby’s health too.
- When you smoke, you breathe in nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide.
- You also breathe in around 4,000 other chemicals, many of them poisonous – like arsenic, ammonia and benzene.
- The tar and some chemicals build up inside your lungs, where they may eventually cause cancer.
- Nicotine, carbon monoxide and the other chemicals rush from your lungs into your bloodstream, reducing the amount of oxygen in your blood.
All these substances get into your baby’s bloodstream from yours.
You probably already know that quitting smoking will reduce your risk of serious illnesses, but there are extra benefits if you’re pregnant.
Medical research has shown that women who smoke while pregnant:
- are more likely to suffer from sickness, bleeding or miscarriage, and other pregnancy complications; and
- have babies that are premature, ill or underweight and at greater risk of stillbirth or cot death.
Isn’t it too late if I’m already pregnant? Giving up smoking at any stage in your pregnancy is good for you and your baby – it’s never too late. As soon as you stop, the chemicals will start to clear from your body and your baby will get more oxygen. So give yourself and your baby a head start by giving up for good.