Smoking for Two?

Did you know that for every cigarette a pregnant woman smokes, the baby gets the effects of two?  There are over 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette.  More than 50 of these cause cancer.  These chemicals are passed on to the baby through the placenta causing a decrease in the amount of oxygen and nutrients that the baby receives.

Silhouette of pregnant woman smoking

Silhouette of pregnant woman smoking

Risks to Baby

  • lower birth weight
  • more health problems, including ear infections, asthma, and respiratory infections
  • premature birth, stillbirth
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • neurological and developmental disabilities

Risks to Mom

  • miscarriage
  • premature rupture of membranes
  • placental complications

Time to Quit
The more cigarettes that mom smokes, the greater the chance the baby will be affected.  The best step that mom can take is to quit.  If mom can’t quit smoking, reducing the number of cigarettes she smokes will help reduce the risk.  It will improve the amount of oxygen and nutrients that the baby gets and thus help with the baby’s birth weight and health.  As well, quitting will lower mom’s blood pressure and heart rate, and decrease the risk of complications during labour and birth.

Be smoke-free during your pregnancy and for life.  For help to quit visit Smokers’ Helpline.  For more information visit Smoking and Pregnancy.

Last updated: May 2017