Let’s remember the risks of smoking

Cigarettes contain carbon monoxide which restricts the essential oxygen supply to your baby. As a result, their little heart must beat harder every time you smoke. Continuing to smoke in pregnancy increases the risk of: miscarriage, heart defects, preterm birth, low birthweight, stillbirth and sudden infant death.

Remember the effects of smoking on your baby

Babies who are born too early or are small and weak may need to stay in hospital for longer. Smoking during pregnancy has also been linked to childhood asthma and even behavioural problems. Restricted oxygen supply to your baby may also cause vaginal bleeding or reduced fetal movements. Contact your local maternity unit immediately if you are worried about the health of you or your baby at any point during pregnancy.

Why is quitting tough?

Cigarettes contain over 5,000 harmful chemicals, including nicotine. Whilst nicotine is not harmful, it is highly addictive which is why quitting is tough for most people. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) will provide a ‘clean’ form of nicotine to help relieve your cravings and reduce your withdrawal symptoms. Creating your personalised Quit Kit will help you stay on track.

What happens when you quit?

The sooner you quit, the sooner you’ll notice changes to your body and health. Look at what happens when you quit for good.


After 20 minutes

Check your pulse rate, it will already be starting to return to normal.


After 8 hours

Your oxygen levels are recovering, and the harmful carbon monoxide level in your blood will have reduced by half.


After 48 hours

All carbon monoxide is flushed out. Your lungs are clearing out mucus and your senses of taste and smell are improving.


After 72 hours

If you notice that breathing feels easier, it’s because your bronchial tubes have started to relax. Also your energy will be increasing.


After 2 to 12 weeks

Blood will be pumping through to your heart and muscles much better because your circulation will have improved.


After 3 to 9 months

Any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases by up to 10%.


After 1 year

Great news! Your risk of heart attack will have halved compared with a smoker’s.


After 10 years

More great news! Your risk of death from lung cancer will have halved compared with a smoker’s.

How much money could you save if you quit smoking today?

Based on smoking 10 cigarettes a day, a smoker will save…

One week: £33

or a day trip for the family, a nice meal, or savings towards a special birthday


One month: £141

or a weekend away, money towards rent or a new smartphone

Three months: £423

or savings towards a holiday, a new laptop or furniture


Six months: £846

or extra money towards a deposit for a new house, a car, or family holiday

Your yearly saving could be


per year

With the increasing cost of living, smoking is only going to cost you more. Take a pen and paper and jot down what you could spend this money on instead. Nappies? Baby Clothes? A family holiday? Keep this note somewhere safe to keep you motivated and remind you of your long term goal to stay smokefree.


Top Stop Smoking Tips from You

To help other women to quit smoking during pregnancy, why not use this space to anonymously submit tips on what worked well for you.

    Top tips:

    Feeling my grandson kick in my daughters belly made me remember why I was quitting
    Family Member
    I found that minty sweets helped ease my cravings
    Instead of reaching for a cigarette, I’d go for a walk instead to clear my head
    using a nicotine inhalator worked for me. It was provided for free by my local service
    I am 6 months pregnant and it hasn’t been easy. My partner has quit too in support. I hope we can continue after our LO is born.
    Make sure you speak to NHS Stop Smoking Services in your area. Their added support really helped.
    I found the nicotine patches were a great help for me when I was pregnant.
    Remember you’re not on your own and there is no shame in asking for help if you have a craving.
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