Why is Quitting Important?

Research shows using tobacco while pregnant is harmful for you and your baby. Cigarette smoke harms women before getting pregnant and can have long-lasting health effects on the child long after birth. These effects include:

  • Harder to become pregnant. Women have lower fertility when they smoke, and even IVF is less likely to work. The good news? After quitting, fertility is the same as for women who didn’t smoke cigarettes!
  • High risks for ectopic pregnancy. Smoking makes the fertilized egg more likely to implant before it reaches the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening if not addressed early. Women who quit smoking reduce their risk of ectopic pregnancy to the same level as women who never smoked.
  • Increased risk for miscarriage. Women who smoke have higher rates of miscarriages. There are many reasons for miscarriage, and smoking can be an underlying cause.
  • Babies born with low birth weight and too early. Tobacco smoke in blood means the baby gets less of the oxygen it needs to grow. There are more than 7000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, and many cross the placenta. Quitting any time during pregnancy, and especially in the first trimester, can reverse the effect of smoking on birthweight and help deliver a full term baby.
  • Higher rates of stillbirth and infant death. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of stillbirth by 40-60% and infant death by 20-30%. About 20% of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) deaths are caused by smoking. Most of the research shows that quitting smoking reduces the risk of stillbirth and other infant deaths caused by smoking.
  • Affects healthy baby development. The chemicals in tobacco smoke cause cleft lip and cleft palate and affects the development of your baby’s heart and lungs.
  • Affects healthy child development. Children who were exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have learning problems and behavioral problems, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

What is the best way to quit?

There are many ways to quit and people find the way that works just right for them. One thing that successful quitters have in common is getting help that is proven to work. Setting a quit date, letting people know how to support your plan, and learning to new ways to deal with stress and manage nicotine cravings are important steps in quitting.

Getting counseling from a professional who specialized in quitting smoking can increase your chances of quitting by nearly 50%. Some women use quit medications, like nicotine patches, gum or lozenges, to quit smoking during pregnancy. If you want to use a quit medication, talk to your doctor about whether medications fit in your quit plan.

How does the Quitline help?

The Quitline has a free program for women who want to quit tobacco when they are pregnant. When you enroll in the Quitline, you will work with the same Coach for all of your appointments.  

During pregnancy, your Coach will help you design your personal quit plan, provide  helpful tools and talk about tips for staying tobacco-free. You can receive up to five coaching calls during  pregnancy.

If your doctor approves, you may be eligible for free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges.

Around your due date, your Coach will schedule you to re-start the program after you deliver your baby. You can receive up to four coaching calls after you give birth.

More than 50-75% of women who complete both the pregnancy and postpartum programs are able to stay quit long term. Your chances of quitting and staying quit increase with each coaching call you complete.

You can quit and we can help!

Important factors to consider

Finding out you are pregnant is both exciting and stressful. You already know it is important to quit for you and your baby, and you might feel there are many challenges to quitting.

Emotions and Stress

Everyone knows stress is a major trigger to smoke. Stress can come from many places, like money stress, work or relationships, stress about how your body is changing, and even feeling guilt about smoking.

Sometimes triggers are the opposite, like smoking a cigarette to get a break, get some time to yourself for a few minutes, or to feel calm or relaxed.

Quitting smoking can feel like you have to give up the way you usually deal with stress or take a break. At the same time, this is a great time to develop new healthy ways to manage stress and reward yourself!

Relationships

Some people in your life might be your best support, but also someone with whom you smoke. This can make quitting difficult until you can get them to support being smoke-free. Making your home and car smoke-free is an important step.

Ask people who use tobacco to not use it around you or before they come to see you. Seeing and smelling smoke can make you want to break down and have a cigarette.

Staying quit postpartum

Most women find many reasons to quit during pregnancy, and after they give birth motivation to stay quit can go down. You might find you want to get back to your pre-pregnancy self that includes activities you had to give up while pregnant. Staying tobacco-free is important for your health and the health of your baby.

Explore How to Quit With the Quitline

At the quitline, we understand the challenges you face in quitting tobacco. We know what quit strategies will be successful for you.