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Charlotte Middleton
Nurse, health visitor and lecturer at The University of Manchester. Proud adoptive mum to one small boy.
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Pregnancy health

The risks of smoking during pregnancy

There is strong evidence that smoking during pregnancy is very bad for the health of developing foetuses. Smoking is also the highest risk factor for cot death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
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In Short
Smoking increases the risk of low birth weight babies, miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.

Smoking during pregnancy is the main risk factor for cot death or SIDS even if the baby then lives in a smoke-free home.

Do not smoke or go near anyone who smokes if you are pregnant.

Your doctor or midwife will help you to give up smoking if you are pregnant.

How do cigarettes and smoking affect a baby?

Smoking during pregnancy is the single biggest risk factor in causing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in newborn babies.

Cigarettes contain over 400 chemicals and every time you smoke a cigarette it harms your foetus or baby.

If you smoke your risk of miscarriage is greater and it can lead to the formation of blood clots. Smoking also raises your baby’s heart rate and the likelihood of foetal abnormalities is higher.

With a newborn baby, even if you go outside to smoke, you can still harm your baby since the smoke will be on your breath and clothes when you come back inside.

If you are a smoker and want to stop smoking because of pregnancy, talk to your midwife. He or she can be able to refer you to a smoking cessation councillor.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.