The First 15 Weeks: Quitting Smoking in Pregnancy

Dec 10, 2019

The first 15 weeks of pregnancy is an excellent time to quit smoking!

Stopping smoking at any point in pregnancy will hugely benefit the health of both mother and baby; reducing the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and other pregnancy complications.  But did you know that quitting in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy is particularly beneficial?  Evidence suggests that if you quit smoking completely by the 15th week of pregnancy, the risk of your baby being born early or being a low birth weight is the same as that of a non-smoker.

Quitting smoking is good for you

Every time you have a cigarette, you are exposing yourself (and your unborn baby) to over 4,000 chemicals. As soon as 8 hours after quitting, your body begins to really feel the benefits.

By smoking during pregnancy you also increase the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage, as well as putting yourself at risk of other health problems such as heart and lung diseases. Don’t forget – smoking tobacco is still the leading cause of early preventable death.

Quitting smoking is good for your developing baby

Giving up smoking during pregnancy will not only help your baby’s development, but will also improve your baby’s health right into adulthood. Babies whose mothers smoke during pregnancy are more likely to be smaller, or born early, which can cause serious longer term health problems for them.

Smoking interferes with the oxygen supply to your baby during pregnancy, due to the carbon monoxide within cigarettes, meaning their tiny developing heart has to work harder every time you have a cigarette. Children of pregnant smokers are more likely to have behavioural problems and learning disabilities, and we know that the carbon monoxide and other poisonous chemicals within cigarettes do cross over into the placenta. You may have heard the saying before that “If you smoke, your baby smokes too.”

If you carry on smoking after the baby is born, they will be at continued risk of second-hand smoke, and at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

The 15 week window

Giving up smoking before conception can improve fertility and will give your baby the very best start in life. However, you may not have been ready to give up (or perhaps you didn’t realise you were pregnant). Now is still a great time to stop.

Giving up smoking at any point during pregnancy will help both you and your baby, but giving up during the first 15 weeks is a key time to prevent the risks getting any higher. Don’t forget – if you quit smoking completely by the 15th week of pregnancy, the risk of your baby being born early or being a low birth weight is the same as that of a non-smoker. But even after 15 weeks you can still make huge benefits to the long term health of your baby.

Smokefree Hampshire are here to help you, and we offer a FREE specialist, non-judgemental pregnancy support service. Get in touch with us today for proven NHS help to give up smoking. We can supply specialist advice and support, and we can supply you FREE of charge with NRT, which is safe for use during pregnancy.

Smokefree Hamphire are here for YOU, and all the family, to help you give your baby the very best start in life.

Contact us today to sign up for free support to go Smokefree.


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Smokefree Hampshire is your local stop smoking service commissioned by Hampshire County Council.