Risks & effects of smoking while pregnant

Learn about the serious risks of smoking while pregnant and its harmful effects on your baby’s health. Protect your familys future with our essential guide.

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Smoking when pregnant is an extremely controversial issue. The first thing that should be acknowledged is that the expectant mother hasn’t done anything wrong and has simply found herself in a hugely regrettable situation, like every other smoker and nicotine addict on the planet. Expectant mothers should be treated with kindness, understanding and respect.

Taking nicotine whether through smoking or vaping (or chewing tobacco or snus) is harmful to both mother and the baby. Quitting smoking when pregnant is by far the most important health step an expectant mother can take to protect and enhance the current and future health of her baby & herself.

Quitting smoking when pregnant, as early in the pregnancy as possible, will help protect and maintain the current and future health of the baby. That said, it is never too late in a pregnancy to stop smoking.

This page will explain everything you need to know about smoking during pregnancy and quitting smoking after finding out about pregnancy. Click here for more details on quitting vaping during pregnancy.

What are the dangers & risks of smoking while pregnant?


Taking nicotine whether through smoking or vaping (or chewing tobacco or snus) is harmful to both mother and the baby. Quitting smoking when pregnant is the most important health step an expectant mother can take to protect and enhance the current and future health of her baby.

Knowing what happens if you smoke while pregnant doesn’t help a mother quit smoking. Scare tactics, guilt, and shaming simply don’t work. They are negative, unkind, and unfair elements that fail to recognise the expectant mother as a victim of addiction. It’s simply not good enough to say, “Can’t you at least do it for the baby?”. If only getting rid of an addiction was so simple.

Read Side Effects of Smoking while pregnant

Smoking during early pregnancy

Smoking during early pregnancy is extremely difficult to avoid if the mother is unaware that she is pregnant. When a pregnancy is planned it is best to quit smoking in advance of conception but in the case of unplanned pregnancies – it can be quite a shock and extremely worrying for the expectant mother who smokes.

Read Side Effects of Smoking while pregnant

Can smoking cause miscarriage?

Smoking is harmful in many ways and losing a pregnancy is a terrible thing. In the first three months of pregnancy the risk of miscarriage is highest with the majority of experts agreeing that most of these miscarriages cannot be prevented and are due to genetic abnormalities. However, certain lifestyle choices do increase the risk of miscarriage and there is scientific research that it is twice as likely to occur for those who smoked heavily than for non-smokers1.

Read All the Side Effects of Smoking while pregnant

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Effects of smoking cigarettes while pregnant

Quitting smoking when pregnant is one of the most important things that an expectant mother can do for her child. The effects of smoking or vaping on the unborn child are very serious and no-one will feel worse about this than the mother herself. Expectant mothers who smoke should be given special understanding and care and not made to feel guilty for being entrapped and enslaved by one of the most addictive drugs on the planet.

The side effects of smoking while pregnant are distressing to review. Aside from the high risk of smoking causing miscarriage and stillbirth, it lowers the amount of oxygen available to the mother and the growing baby. The baby’s heart rate increases unhealthily, as does the risk of premature birth and the risk of the baby being born with a low birth rate. The baby’s risk of developing respiratory problems, birth defects, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) are also increased many times over.

Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals as well as releasing harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and vaping contains many chemicals all of which can be passed to the unborn baby. These can lead to the following risks and issues:

Anytime

  • Miscarriage
  • Preterm birth (Baby is born too early with health issues such as breathing difficulties, digestion issues and bleeding in their brains)

Immediate

  • Ectopic pregnancy (The embryo attaches outside the uterus and usually leads to a miscarriage. This is up to 4 times2 more likely for a mother who smokes during pregnancy)

20 to 25 weeks

  • Placental abruption (The precentor separates early from the uterus causing bleeding in the mother, dangerously low blood pressure and lower oxygen and food to the baby)
  • Placenta previa3 (The baby’s placenta covers the mother cervix leading to severe bleeding during pregnancy and delivery)
  • Pre-eclampsia (The mother has high blood pressure and swollen feet, legs and hands which can lead to premature birth)

After 24 weeks

  • Stillbirth (Baby dies before she or he is born)

Post Birth

  • Underweight baby (Higher risk which can lead to issues keeping warm and increased risk of infection)
  • Cot death (At least 25%4 higher risk of sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby)
  • Asthma (Parents who smoke increased likelihood that children will develop asthma and lung disease causing breathing difficulties)

Stop Smoking Programmes

Read More Side Effects of Smoking

Top 10 tips to stop smoking and What are the best & most effective ways to to quit smoking?

When to stop smoking while pregnant

Quitting smoking when pregnant is one of the most important things that an expectant mother can do for her child. The effects of smoking or vaping on the unborn child are very serious and no-one will feel worse about this than the mother herself. Expectant mothers who smoke should be given special understanding and care and not made to feel guilty for being entrapped and enslaved by one of the most addictive drugs on the planet.

Smoking during early pregnancy is extremely difficult to avoid if the mother is unaware that she is pregnant. When a pregnancy is planned it is best to quit smoking in advance of conception.

How to stop smoking while pregnant

Nicotine is dangerous for the baby and the mother and so it is best to choose a natural method of quitting smoking – one that avoids any drugs.

There is only one method that is natural, involves no drugs and is clinically proven and that is Allen Carr’s Easyway.

Stop smoking the Easyway