Myths: Smoking and Pregnancy

Smoking anytime during your pregnancy is dangerous. Quitting is the best thing you can do for you and your baby. Here are some common myths about quitting and pregnancy. 

Quitting smoking – at any point during your pregnancy – is one of the best things you can do for your baby. Learn how you can become smokefree during your pregnancy and after your baby arrives.

Myths vs. Facts

Myth #1: I’m pregnant and have been smoking, so there is no point in stopping now.

Fact: Quitting smoking at any stage of your pregnancy has health benefits for you and your baby. Even after just one day of not smoking, your baby will get more oxygen. This will help your baby’s lungs develop well. Quitting now also lowers your chances of having a baby with low birth weight.

Myth #2: Quitting smoking will be too stressful on my baby.

Fact: Quitting smoking doesn’t put extra stress on your baby. It’s one of the best things that you can do for your health and your baby’s health during pregnancy—and after the baby is born. By quitting smoking now, you will be protecting your infant from the dangers of secondhand smoke and reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. 

Myth #3: Smoking fewer cigarettes or switching to e-cigarettes during pregnancy is OK.

Fact: There is no safe amount of smoking. Every puff of a cigarette releases harmful chemicals that will reach your baby and affect your health too. E-cigarettes are also not harmless. Although there is still much to learn about e-cigarettes, pregnant women should not use them. The nicotine in e-cigarettes is harmful for developing babies. 

Myth #4: Smoking relaxes me, and being relaxed is better for me and my baby.

Fact: Smoking may make you feel calmer, but it hurts your body more than it helps. The relaxed feeling is only temporary and whatever is causing your stress will likely return. Smoking speeds up your heart rate and increases your blood pressure. It also increases the carbon monoxide in your bloodstream, which means your baby gets less oxygen. 

Myth #5: There is nothing wrong with having a small baby.

Fact: Smoking during pregnancy increases the chances of having a low birth weight baby. Babies with low birth weight are more likely to have serious health problems than normal weight babies. These problems can affect your baby’s health now, throughout their childhood, and into adulthood. 

Myth #6: The only way to quit smoking is cold turkey.

Fact: Pregnant women have other ways to quit smoking besides cold turkey, which is quitting without any preparation or counseling. Smokefree Women offers many resources that can help you quit. Try signing up for a text message program, like SmokefreeMom. While some smokers try medications to help them quit, the risks of using them while pregnant are not fully known. If you’re having trouble quitting after trying different methods, be open with your doctor about your challenges and ask if medication may be right for you and your baby.

Myth #7: I smoked during my last pregnancy and had a healthy baby, so this next baby will be healthy, too.

Fact: Every time you smoke during pregnancy, you put your baby’s health at risk. If you smoked and had a healthy pregnancy in the past that does not mean your next one will be healthy, too.

Myth #8: I smoke, so I should not breastfeed my baby.

Fact: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, mothers who smoke are encouraged to quit smoking, but can breastfeed their baby if they continue to smoke. Breast milk is good for your baby. It provides your baby with what he or she needs for healthy growth and development. Not smoking while you are breastfeeding your baby, waiting to smoke until after you breastfeed, and making your car and home smokefree are important ways to protect your baby from the effects of nicotine and secondhand smoke.