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Smoking & tobacco

Second–hand smoke

Pregnancy & second–hand smoke

I'm pregnant. Why should I quit?

Mothers who don't smoke are healthier. They have easier pregnancies and deliveries, and recovery after birth is faster with fewer complications. Babies whose mothers are smoke-free are more likely to be born full-term, be healthy at birth and stay healthier as they grow.

When should I quit?

Quitting before you get pregnant is the best choice, but it's always a good time to quit. If you're already pregnant, quitting as soon as possible is best for you and your baby. Some women actually find it easier to quit while they're pregnant, as they may already feel nauseated form morning sickness.

Will it be too hard on the baby for me to quit when I'm pregnant?

No. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your baby. Many of the 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke cross into your baby's blood, slowing growth and development. Babies born to mothers who smoke are more likely to be premature, low-birth-weight and experience more problems at birth than babies whose mothers are smoke-free. As your body begins to heal from the stress of smoking, so does your baby.

What if your partner smokes?

Your partner should also try to quit; his or her smoke can also seriously harm the baby, both while you're pregnant and after the baby is born. Breathing in second-hand smoke puts your baby at risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, allergies, asthma, ear infections and other illnesses. It's important for your child to live in a smoke-free home.

Partners can support one another in quitting. If your partner isn't ready or willing to quit, you can still insist on a smoke-free home. Never allow smoking in your home or car. It's not enough to ban smoking near your baby either. The chemicals in tobacco smoke are easily trapped in your carpet, furniture and curtains. These chemicals stay in your house and can make your baby sick. Make sure you don't take your baby to places where people are smoking or have been smoking.

If you're pregnant and need help to quit smoking, contact your provincial Lung Association for programs in your community.