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Smoking in pregnancy

A smokefree start

A smokefree pregnancy is one of the best ways that you can give your child the best start in life.  No matter what stage you are at in your pregnancy, it's never too late to stop smoking. The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke not only increase your risk of illness and complications, but they are even more dangerous for your baby.

The early stages of pregnancy are the time when the baby forms and develops; taking on the shape of the small person they will grow to be. In the later stages, their body grows and develops further to be as strong as possible and ready to be born. Smoking increases the risks of having a small under-developed baby. It is really important that the baby is allowed to grow properly to be ready for the challenges to come. 

When delivering your baby, you will need as much energy as possible. Quitting smoking during or before pregnancy means that your body will be better able to cope with the challenges of bringing your child into the world. If you stop smoking, you will be less likely to need emergency oxygen and other interventions during labour. 

A smokefree pregnancy reduces the risk of

  • miscarriage
  • problems with the placenta
  • premature labour
  • low birth weight (under-developed baby)
  • stillbirth 
  • breathing problems
  • glue ear
  • behavioural problems

If you need help with your cravings, you can use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). This is safer than continuing to smoke as it contains fewer harmful chemicals. Your stop smoking advisor will carry out a risk-benefit assessment and explain your options in detail. NRT reduces cravings whilst giving you lower doses of nicotine. It is provided at prescription cost and is therefore free during pregnancy.

Speak to your midwife or local maternity unit for details of support available. For more information please see the links below

Salisbury Foundation Trust - e-mail: shc-tr.MATERNITYPIMSTEAM@nhs.net

Royal United Hospital) Chippenham and Trowbridge birthing centres) - Tel: 01249 456539

Great Western Hospital - Call Corinne on 07585 402192 or e-mail gwh.stopsmokingmidwife@nhs.net

Second hand smoke

Other people's smoke can also be harmful to you and your baby.  The dangerous particles are released from cigarettes and can linger inside a house for hours. This can increase the risk of a low birthweight in pregnancy and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) after the baby has been born.  It can also make it harder for you to stop smoking when others are lighting up around you. 

Your partner and family members can join you for support to stop through your maternity department. Alternatively, they may like to contact the Health trainers on health.coaches@wiltshire.gov.uk or 0300 003 4566