Pregnancy and Tobacco Use
Quitting smoking cigarettes is hard, and it is one of the best ways you can protect you and your baby’s health. The good news is most people quit successfully during pregnancy and getting help can make the process easier and increase your chance of quitting for good.
More than half of people who smoked before they were pregnant quit when they found out. Many people sign up for free help from Quitline to help quit during pregnancy.
If you are pregnant and enroll in the Quitline program, you will work with a specially trained Coach during your pregnancy who will also help you stay quit postpartum. If your doctor approves, you may be eligible for free quit medications. And, you may be able to get rewards after each call that help with pregnancy and new baby expenses.
Why is Quitting Important?
- Easier to become pregnant. Women have lower fertility when they smoke, and even IVF is less likely to work. The good news? After quitting, fertility is the same as for women who didn’t smoke cigarettes!
- Lower risks for ectopic pregnancy. Smoking makes the fertilized egg more likely to implant before it reaches the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening if not addressed early. Women who quit smoking can reduce their risk of ectopic pregnancy to the same level as women who never smoked.
- Decreased risk for miscarriage. Women who smoke have higher rates of miscarriages. There are many reasons for miscarriage, and smoking can be an underlying cause.
- Babies born with health birth weight and full term. Tobacco smoke in blood means the baby gets less of the oxygen it needs to grow. There are also more than 7000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, and many cross the placenta. Quitting any time during pregnancy, and especially in the first trimester, can reverse the effect of smoking on birthweight and help deliver a full term baby.
- Lower rates of stillbirth and infant death. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of stillbirth and infant death. About 20% of all Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) deaths are caused by smoking. Research shows that quitting smoking reduces the risk of stillbirth and other infant deaths caused by smoking.
- Healthy baby development. The chemicals in tobacco smoke cause cleft lip and cleft palate. It also affects the development of your baby’s heart and lungs. Quitting smoking helps provide the best environment for your baby to develop.
- Healthy child development. Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and postpartum are more likely to have learning problems and behavioral problems, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Quitting during pregnancy and staying quit postpartum helps your child have the healthy childhood.
What is the best way to quit?
There are many ways to quit and people find the way that works just right for them. One thing that successful quitters have in common is getting help that is proven to work. Setting a quit date, letting people know how to support your plan, and learning to new ways to deal with stress and manage nicotine cravings are important steps in quitting.
Getting counseling from a professional who specialized in quitting smoking can increase your chances of quitting by nearly 50%. Some women use quit medications, like nicotine patches, gum or lozenges, to quit smoking during pregnancy. If you want to use a quit medication, talk to your doctor about whether medications fit in your quit plan.
How does the Quitline help?
During pregnancy, your Coach will help you design your personal quit plan, provide helpful tools and talk about tips for staying tobacco-free. You can receive up to five coaching calls during pregnancy.
If your doctor approves, you may be eligible for free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges.
Around your due date, your Coach will schedule you to re-start the program after you deliver your baby. You can receive up to four coaching calls after you give birth.
More than 50-75% of women who complete both the pregnancy and postpartum programs are able to stay quit long term. Your chances of quitting and staying quit increase with each coaching call you complete.
You can quit and we can help!
Important factors to consider
Finding out you are pregnant is both exciting and stressful. You already know it is important to quit for you and your baby, and you may also feel like there are big challenges to quitting.
Emotions and Stress
Many people say stress is a major trigger to smoke. Stress can come from many places, like money stress, work or relationships, stress about how your body is changing, and even feeling guilt about smoking.
Sometimes triggers are the opposite of stress, like smoking a cigarette to get a break from stress, get some time to yourself for a few minutes, and to feel calm or relaxed.
Quitting smoking can feel like you have to give up the way you usually deal with stress or take a break. At the same time, this is a great time to develop new healthy ways to manage stress and reward yourself!
Ask people who use tobacco to not use it around you or before they come to see you. Seeing and smelling smoke can make you want to break down and have a cigarette.
Staying quit postpartum
Most people find many reasons to quit during pregnancy like having the healthiest baby possible. After you give birth motivation to stay quit might go down. You may find that you want to get back to your pre-pregnancy self that includes activities you had to give up while pregnant. Staying tobacco-free is important for your health and the health of your baby. Connecting with a quitline coach postpartum increases your chances of staying quit for good.