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Pregnant? Don't Smoke: Learn Why and How to Quit for Good

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Quitting smoking can be hard, but it is one of the best ways a woman can protect herself and her baby's health. For free help, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

This is the fourth in a series of articles on preventing birth defects.

Most people know that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and other major health problems. But women who smoke during pregnancy put themselves and their unborn babies at risk for other health problems. The dangers of smoking during pregnancy include premature birth, certain birth defects, and infant death. Even being around cigarette smoke puts a woman and her baby at risk for problems.

Did You Know?

Smoking makes it harder for a woman to get pregnant.

Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than other women to have a miscarriage.

Smoking during pregnancy causes major health problems for mom and baby. For example, smoking is one of the causes of problems with the placenta*—the source of the baby's nutrition and oxygen during pregnancy.

Smoking during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born too early and have low birth weight—making it more likely the baby will become sick or die.

Smoking during and after pregnancy is one of the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Babies born to women who smoke are more likely to have a cleft lip or cleft palate—types of birth defects.

The Good News

Quitting smoking before getting pregnant is best. But for women who are already pregnant, quitting as early as possible can still help protect against some health problems, such as low birth weight. It is never “too late” to quit smoking.

Quit for Good!

It is important to quit smoking for good. Some women might think it is safe to start smoking again after their baby is born. But these babies are not out of harm's way. Babies who are around cigarette smoke have weaker lungs than other babies. They are more likely to have other health problems such as infections and more frequent asthma attacks. Being around cigarette smoke is also one of the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) .

Though quitting for good can be hard, the benefits are worth it—a healthy baby and many more years of good health to enjoy with him or her.

Free help and support are available for pregnant women and others who want to quit for good.

Learn more from CDC at Smoking and Tobacco Use and Tobacco Use and Pregnancy.

Learn about the Great American Smokeout® Challenge.*

1-800-QUIT-NOW. Free Call. Free Quit Coach. Free Quit Plan.

For free help, call the quitline in your state. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
or visit 1-800-QUIT-NOW.*

Find tips on quitting smoking, visit*

Get information from The National Partnership for Smoke-free Families.*

Learn quitting tips from The March of Dimes.*

Read questions and answers from The American Lung Association.*

Make the Smoke-free Home Pledge. Call 1-866-SMOKE-FREE (1-866-766-5337)
or visit Smoke-free Homes and Cars Program.*

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If You're Pregnant, Don't Smoke Podcast Iconpodcast, 2 minutes 28 seconds

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Know someone who is thinking about getting pregnant?
Send her this Health-e-Card from CDC

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Know someone who is pregnant?
Send her this Health-e-Card from CDC

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Know someone who just had a baby?
Send her this Health-e-Card from CDC

Additional articles in the series on preventing birth defects: Folic Acid Awareness, Preventing Infections During Pregnancy and Pregnant? Don't Drink Alcohol.

Page last reviewed: January 28, 2008
Page last updated: January 28, 2008
Content source: National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Content owner: National Center for Health Marketing
URL for this page:

*Links to non-federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the federal government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links.
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