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Stopping smoking

If you currently smoke, quitting is one of the most important changes you can make to reduce your risk of stillbirth. Smoking puts you at higher risk and it can harm your baby’s growth and development before it is born. There is no ‘safe’ number of cigarettes to smoke in pregnancy, so the best thing to do is completely stop and not just cut down.

Where to get help

There is lots of help and support available to you to help you or your partner quit smoking. To find out more and get started, visit Quit Your Way.

Why smoking during pregnancy could lead to stillbirth?

Smoking while pregnant reduces the flow of oxygen to your baby, which increases the risk of stillbirth.

Tips for quitting smoking

Tip #1: Create a quit plan

On the Quit Your Way website you can create your own plan to best help you quit smoking.

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Tip #2: Keep remembering you’re doing it for your baby

Quitting smoking can be tough. When the cravings are taking over, remember that you are quitting to keep your baby healthy.

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Tip #3: See what local services are near you

Scotland's free and friendly local stop smoking services can increase your chances of having a successful quit attempt and staying stopped for good. Wherever you live in Scotland you can get help, with the NHS providing pharmacy and local specialist stop smoking services. See what services are near you.

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Tip #4: Call the stop smoking helpline

Call 0800 84 84 84 to speak to trained advisors who will be able to offer you support and advice on how to quit smoking. They are available to speak to you on Monday - Fridays, 8am to 10pm, and Saturday/Sunday, 9am to 5pm.

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Tip #5: Speak to your midwife

If you have any questions about why you should stop smoking or how it could affect your pregnancy, please speak to your midwife.

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Tips to help someone who you know stop smoking

Tip #1: Stop smoking around them

If someone you know is giving up during their pregnancy, try to stop smoking around them.

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Tip #2: Why not try to stop as well?

Working as a team to quit smoking lets you help each other during the difficult moments and celebrate together during the days, weeks and months without a cigarette.

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Tip #3: Keep them motivated

Show lots of support for your loved one as quitting smoking is really tough! Being pregnant also means their body will be going through a lot of changes and some days can be really hard. Small gestures can make a big difference, so try running them a bath or rubbing their back to make them more comfortable.

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Tip #4: Call the stop smoking helpline

Call 0800 84 84 84 to speak to trained advisors who will be able to offer advice and support on how best to support them. They are here to speak to you on Monday - Fridays, 8am to 10pm, and Saturday/Sunday, 9am to 5pm.

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Tip #5: Attend the midwife meetings

Show support and encouragement by seeing if you can join them at their midwife appointments. Seeing the baby on the scan, or hearing the heartbeat can really help to make it all feel more real.

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If I am pregnant and my partner smokes, is my baby at risk of stillbirth?

If your partner or someone else you live with smokes, their smoke can affect you and the baby before and after birth. You might also find it more difficult to stop smoking yourself if someone around you is still smoking.

You should try and avoid secondhand smoke by:

  • Not going places where you know people will be smoking indoors.
  • Asking drivers not to smoke in the car with you or take different transport.
  • Tell visiting smokers to smoke outside with the door closed behind them, making sure nearby windows are also closed.

Are E-cigarettes safe during pregnancy?

E-cigarettes are still fairly new and there are still things that we don’t know about their effects. We do know that they don’t produce tar and carbon monoxide, which are two of the main toxins in cigarette smoke. Although the vapour from an e-cigarette does contain some of the potentially harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke, it’s at much lower levels. If you are using them to help you stop smoking it’s safer for you than continuing to smoke, however, we don't yet know about the risks to your baby.

Is nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) safe during pregnancy?

At the moment, there is a lack of evidence on the safety and effectiveness of NRT in helping you to stop smoking during pregnancy. It is therefore recommended that NRT is only used by pregnant women who have been unsuccessful at stopping smoking without it. It’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of NRT with your GP, and you should only get a prescription for it once you have stopped smoking.

Supporting you after a stillbirth

Stillbirth is one of the most devastating experiences any family can go through and it can take a long time to even begin to recover. However, you’re not alone and there are a wide range of support groups and health professionals that can help and support you during this very difficult time.

If you’ve experienced stillbirth, find out more about the help and support available to you. More information can also be found at Ready Steady Baby.

This article was created as part of 

https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/baby-friendly-resources/sleep-and-night-time-resources/caring-for-your-baby-at-night/

Last updated: 5 Feb, 2020