We are not supporting this browser

Pregnancy

      Smoking during pregnancy

      Researching

      What all mums-to-be should know about smoking

      Attitudes towards smoking have changed over the years as we learn more and more about the potential harmful effects. For example, it used to be thought that only smoking while pregnant could harm your child but passive smoking can be damaging too and even smoking before conception can be harmful. It can take smokers longer to conceive but it's not just a woman's smoking that can be the cause. Men who smoke should really think about quitting too, as smoking can affect the quality and mobility of their sperm. 

      What actually happens if you smoke during pregnancy

      If you smoke during pregnancy you inhale lots of dangerous chemicals. Your baby takes in harmful carbon monoxide, nicotine and maybe other chemical substances. Carbon Monoxide restricts the oxygen supply, which reduces the size of the blood vessels and so increase the blood flow (blood pressure) and heart rate of both you and your baby, leading to lots of problems.

      How smoking during pregnancy affects you

      On average, women who smoke are more likely than non-smokers to:

      • Suffer more morning sickness
      • Have an ectopic pregnancy
      • Have an increased risk of miscarriage
      • Go into premature labour

      How smoking or being a passive smoker while pregnant affects your baby

      Babies of pregnant women who continue smoking are more likely to:

      • Have more problems during and after labour
      • Have developmental problems
      • Have a lower birth weight
      • Have problems keeping warm when newborn
      • Have a higher risk of cot death
      • Have a higher risk of illnesses such as asthma

      Try to stop smoking before you get pregnant

      If you quit before you get pregnant not only will you get your baby off to a better start in life, but you'll also have been a non-smoker for longer – making it easier to resist smoking during your pregnancy and afterwards.

      Help to stop smoking for mums-to-be

      The great news is - since the dangers of smoking have become more well-known, help with giving up smoking is much more widely available. Many people find it easier to quit if they have someone helping them along, for example. The HSE have a free helpline 1800 201 203. Your healthcare professional should also be able to give you lots of advice and encouragement and put you in touch with local support groups.

      Any more questions?

      Our specialist baby advisors and experienced mums are here to talk and ready to help whenever you need them. You can call us or reach us on Live Chat 8.30am-5.30pm Monday-Friday.

      Join the C&G baby club today

      Join the C&G baby club today

      • Weekly emails with tips and advice for your stage
      • 1-to-1 support from our dedicated Careline team, 8.30am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
      Join us now

      More from pregnancy

      Your privacy is important to us and therefore we would like to explain how we use cookies on this website. With your consent, we will use cookies to measure and analyse how our website is used (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisation cookies), and to show you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies) we think you will like. For more information please read the cookie statement.

      Privacy Settings

      You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy

      • Strictly necessary

        They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

      • Analytical cookies

        They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

      • Personalisation cookies

        They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

      • Targeting cookies

        They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.