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When it does happen, the labour is unlikely to be easier and it is bad for babies, resulting in a higher risk of death and disease in infancy and early childhood. You may need to stay in hospital longer after the birth.
If you or your partner smoke, your children are more likely to get infections and glue-ear, and asthma can be made worse.
Smokers who cut down often inhale more deeply and take more puffs, so the same numbers of chemicals pass into the baby. The same applies to using low tar cigarettes.
Tobacco smoke contains poisonous chemicals that pass through the placenta into the baby’s blood. They slow the baby’s growth, and increase the chances of a miscarriage, premature birth or stillbirth.
It’s never too late to stop and it’s always worth it. Your chances of both a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby improve when you stop smoking.
Not all babies are adversely affected, but smoking during pregnancy makes premature birth twice as likely and the risks of stillbirth or the baby dying soon after birth is a third higher for smokers. There is also a greater risk of cot death.
Most pregnant women can use NRT. It’s important to talk it through with your doctor or midwife first. They can help you to weigh up the risks of continuing to smoke against the benefits of stopping using NRT. Using NRT is safer than smoking because it doesn’t contain poisons like tar or carbon monoxide.