Smokefree Support During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it’s important to be as healthy as you can for the development of your unborn baby.


Quitting smoking is often not easy, but when you have something as important as your baby to give up for, it is a hugely positive motivator.


WDHB smokefree voucher offerWHY GIVE UP?


A lot of people don’t realise the effects smoking can have on an unborn baby. This information is not here to scare but just to help you make well informed choices as to why quitting is good for both you and your child.


Right now...

  • When you smoke, or inhale other people's second-hand smoke, the smoke goes into your lungs.
  • There are over 4000 chemicals which when you smoke, are absorbed into your bloodstream which transfer to your growing baby.
  • This means the oxygen supply to your baby is restricted. Oxygen is essential for your babies growth and development. When you smoke, your baby gets less oxygen and its tiny heart has to beat harder.

During birth...

  • Smoking can cause a greater risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.
  • Your baby is more likely to be born prematurely and with a low birth weight. This may mean your baby has to fight to stay alive in its first few days and might end up staying in hospital for longer.

In your child’s future...

  • Your child is more at risk of getting infections such as inflammation of the middle ear in childhood.
  • Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of asthma and other chest infections in young children.
  • Your child is more likely to become a smoker as they get older.




From the moment you stop smoking, you and your baby will benefit. The chemicals in cigarettes, including carbon monoxide, leave your body quickly which means your baby will have more oxygen, and you will both be healthier.




Pregnant wahine with support partnerWhen you are giving up smoking, support plays a big role in how successful you will be.


Quite often there will be someone else in your house smoking as well, whether that is your partner or another family member. So why not get them involved! As second-hand smoke can harm infants, it's important your partner (and others) do not bring smoke into the environment – and what better way to do that than quitting themselves!


Remember that when you quit you will have:

  • More energy
  • Fewer health problems
  • A healthier baby
  • More money
  • And all of these will help you give your baby a great start to life!



Nga Taura Tuhono logoHOW CAN WE HELP YOU TO QUIT


Support and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).


Maybe you've tried to quit before. And even now, it isn't easy giving up something that is so much a part of what you do every day. But with good support and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (if you need it), you can do it!


To speak to a qualified pregnancy coach, freephone 0800 200 249 or drop into the Ngā Taura Tūhono Stop Smoking Service's clinic at 49 Ingestre Street, Whanganui or Te Oranganui, 57 Campbell Street, Whanganui.


Although being smoke and nicotine free is always best for baby, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is much safer than continuing to smoke.


Lozenges, gum, inhalators and Quickmist mouth spray are the first choice for pregnant women. Nicotine patches can also be used for more addicted smokers. If a patch is found to be the best option for you, it is best to only wear it during the day and remove at night.


Talk to your GP, nurse or midwife if you are pregnant and have any concerns about NRT and what you’re taking.


The various toxins in cigarette smoke (as opposed to the nicotine) are most likely to be responsible for the harm associated with smoking in pregnancy





"If I go smokefree during pregnancy, won’t it put too much stress on my baby?"

While it may not feel like it, becoming smokefree will actually reduce stress, which means a healthier baby, and a healthier mum!



"I've cut down on the amount I smoke. Isn’t that enough?"

It is great that you have been able to cut down but the only way to really protect the unborn baby is to quit. Talk to your midwife, GP or nurse about quit smoking support options.


"What if I quit while I'm pregnant, but I plan to start smoking again afterwards?"

Tobacco smoke is harmful to infants, too. Your child has an increased risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI), respiratory illness, impaired lung function, coughing and wheezing, asthma, allergies, middle ear disease, developmental delays, and future smoking behaviour. Plus, you would have done all the hard work quitting, why would you start again?


"Is it safe to smoke if I am breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is recommended even if you smoke. You should know, however, that the chemicals in cigarettes, including carbon monoxide, reach your baby through the breast milk. Heavy smokers may produce less milk. Chemicals from cigarettes stay in breast milk for up to five hours after the last cigarette.


"Can I use nicotine replacement therapy while pregnant or breast feeding?"

Yes you can. NRT is safer for pregnant and breastfeeding woman that continuing to smoke.





You are not the first pregnant woman to decide to quit smoking. Here are some stories to reinforce that what you are doing is for a great reason.


Nicole's story:

“I'm ashamed to say that I smoked all the way through my first pregnancy. My baby was fine but my habit caused my placenta to be retained and I haemorrhaged quite badly. I lost a lot of blood and they told me that I would probably never conceive again. When by some miracle I did, I knew I had to quit smoking. I couldn't risk that trauma and potentially dying in labour again. I need to see my children grow up and I won't be beaten by cigarettes!"


Emma's story:

“I smoked through pregnancy and breastfeeding with my first two kids. Both are asthmatics and seem to always be sick. I stopped smoking for the last pregnancy but started again after she was born. I was breastfeeding her and thought it was okay as I smoked outside and put a jacket over my clothes when I was out there. It wasn’t ok! A friend of mine was cuddling my baby and said “you know your baby stinks of smoke, it’s like you’ve been smoking round her”. It was hard, but I quit again with help from my Quit coach. She must have been getting it through my breast milk and that was enough to make me want to stop”.