Pregnancy & Smoking

Is it ever too late to quit smoking if I'm pregnant or trying to conceive?

Are you pregnant or wanting to get pregnant? Do you smoke? The good news is quitting is one of the best things you can do for your baby and your health. While quitting smoking before you get pregnant or as soon as you find out you are is best, quitting at any time has benefits for you and your baby. EX can help you quit smoking before, during, or after your pregnancy.

Why is quitting good for my baby?

Once you stop smoking, all kinds of good things happen for your baby:

  • Quitting increases the amount of oxygen your baby will get. You'll be helping your baby develop and grow properly.
  • Quitting increases the chances your baby's lungs will work well.
  • Quitting lowers the risk that your baby will be born prematurely or too early, especially quitting in the first trimester.
  • Quitting decreases your chances of having a low birth weight baby.
  • Quitting lowers the risk of having a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Why is quitting good for me as an expecting mom?

Using EX to quit smoking for your pregnancy also does good things for your health.

If you're trying to get pregnant:

  • Quitting increases your fertility, meaning it's easier to get pregnant.

If you're already pregnant:

  • Quitting reduces your risk of your water breaking too soon (amniotic sac rupture).
  • Quitting reduces your risk of an ectopic pregnancy, as well as infection.
  • Quitting reduces your risk of placental abruption, where the placental lining separates from the wall of the uterus.
  • Quitting reduces your risk of pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.

Whether you are pregnant or not, when you quit:

  • You'll have more energy.
  • You'll save lots of money that you can spend on other things.
  • Your clothes, hair and home will smell better.
  • Your food will taste better.
  • And perhaps more than anything, you'll feel great knowing what an important thing you've done for yourself and the people you love.

What about after my baby is born?

Quitting smoking is just as important AFTER your baby is born.

Quitting before or during pregnancy can improve the health of your baby even as he or she grows older. If you stay quit, your newborn will be at lower risk for chest colds, coughs, ear infections and asthma problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. You'll also lower your baby's risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

In addition, quitting smoking reduces the chances that your baby will:

  • Be very overweight (obese) as he or she grows up
  • Have behavioral disorders or attention deficit disorder (ADD) later in life or
  • Develop high blood pressure

So what can I do to quit?

  • Deciding to quit is the most important step in quitting. If you decide to quit while you're pregnant, and plan to stay quit afterwards, you're more likely to stay quit after you have your baby.
  • It's important to have support while you're quitting. The good news is you can get support from lots of places. Your friends and family, a health care provider or counselor, or the EX Community are all great options for support. Check out our Build Your Support System Tool to start identifying the people in your life who can support you on your tobacco-free journey.

Can I use medications to help me quit while I am pregnant?

You should always check with your health care provider before starting any new medication. There is some evidence that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) (patches, gum, lozenge) may have negative effects on the developing fetus. However, the risks of smoking are certainly greater than the risk from NRT. Especially for heavy smokers, NRT may be the extra help you need to quit. You will need to discuss the risks and benefits with your health care provider to make the best decision for you.

There are two non-nicotine medications that improve smoking cessation: bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix). Studies of bupropion have found some evidence of impact on fetal development in animal studies, but no evidence of harm in studies of humans. There are no studies about fetal effects from Chantix. If you are interested in using either of these medications while you're pregnant, talk to your health care provider.

Will I gain a lot more weight when I quit because I'm pregnant?

If you're worried about weight gain, remember that putting on some weight during pregnancy is normal, which makes now an ideal time to quit. The weight you gain is far less harmful than the risk to you and your baby from smoking.

As long as I quit while I'm pregnant, can I have a cigarette once in a while after my baby is born?

Unfortunately, any smoking is harmful to you and your baby. Most people who go back to smoking after quitting for a long time never plan to start smoking again. They assume they can just smoke once in a while. But for many people, the first or first few cigarettes cause changes in your body and brain that make cravings to smoke much stronger. Because of how nicotine addiction works, it may not be possible for people who have been regular smokers, and quit, to go back to occasional smoking. Understand how nicotine addiction works.

Remember, EX can help improve the health of two people — you AND your baby.

Other Health Issues and Benefits of Quitting