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Healthy Choices, Healthy Children: Smoke-free Moms
By Tiffany A. Babinsack, MPA

Smoking While Pregnant
Becoming smoke-free, no matter what trimester you are in, is the healthiest decision you can make! Using tobacco during pregnancy is harmful to both you and your baby. Smoking speeds up your heart rate and increases your blood pressure. It also increases the carbon monoxide in your bloodstream, which means your baby gets less oxygen. Even after just one day of staying smoke-free your baby will get more oxygen. This helps them develop healthy lungs and lowers your chances of having a baby with low birth weight.

Additionally, mothers who smoke are more likely to deliver their babies early. Preterm delivery is a leading cause of death, disability, and disease among newborns.

Smoking After Birth
Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are three times more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than babies who are not exposed to cigarette smoke. Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth also have weaker lungs than other babies, which increases their risk for health problems now, and into adulthood.2

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Also, parents who smoke are more likely to raise children who smoke. This sets them up for health risks in the future, such as cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and stroke.

How to Quit
There are many different ways to quit smoking, and often it takes more than one try to quit for good. If one method isn’t working for you, try something new! Start by talking with your healthcare provider or seeking out cessation counseling, such as the Pennsylvania Free Quitline.

The Quitline is a free, no-judgement, program that offers participants phone-based coaching sessions and customized quit plans. Women who are pregnant and calling the Quitline are also eligible to receive incentives for their participation. The Quitline is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Smokefree.gov. (Nd). Myths: Smoking and Pregnancy. https://women.smoke
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (January, 2018). Smoking During Pregnancy. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/health_effects/pregnancy/index.htm

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General.


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