How Smoking Affects Your Baby

Why is it important to give up smoking when you are pregnant? Dr Ranj Singh explains the benefits.

How Smoking Affects Your Baby

Most expectant mothers know the risks smoking can pose to their unborn child, but studies show that around 20 per cent of pregnant women don’t stop smoking when they are expecting.

While it can be difficult for smokers to quit, especially with the added pressure of being pregnant, research shows that the benefits of stopping kick in almost immediately, although it can take years to fully recover.  So, the sooner you quit the better.

So just how dangerous is it to smoke while pregnant? Well, smoking can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth and also cot death.  An analysis of 24 studies by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence found that the risk of stillbirth was a huge 47 per cent higher for smokers.  Smoking is also linked to 60 per cent of sudden infant deaths.

If you smoke it’s also far more likely that your baby will be born underweight – on average 200g lighter than other babies.  This is because when you smoke, you are reducing the oxygen being delivered to your baby, which seriously hinders their development.

So if you would like help to quit, get in touch ASAP with the NHS Smokefree helpline.

Voice: Dr Ranj Singh