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Where We Stand: Smoking During Pregnancy

Where We Stand: Smoking During Pregnancy Where We Stand: Smoking During Pregnancy

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) message is clear—don't smoke when pregnant, and protect yourself and your children from secondhand tobacco smoke.

Many studies have shown that if a woman smokes or is exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy, her child may be born too early (prematurely) or be smaller than normal. 

Other effects caused by smoking during pregnancy may include:

  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

  • Decreased fetal breathing

  • Learning problems

  • Respiratory disorders

  • Heart disease as an adult

After birth, children exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke have more respiratory infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, poor lung function, and asthma than children who aren't exposed. Smoke exposure is most dangerous for younger children because they spend more time in close proximity to parents or other smokers, and they have immature lungs.

  • If you smoke, quit. Ask your obstetrician, primary care doctor, or your child's pediatrician for free help, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

  • If you can't quit, don't expose your child to smoke—make your home and car completely smoke free.

  • If you are a non-smoker and live with a smoker, encourage your partner or family/friend to quit smoking.

The AAP recommends several things to protect children and pregnant women from secondhand smoke and to make sure smokers who want to quit can do so. The AAP supports legislation that would prohibit smoking in public places, including outdoor public places that children frequent. Other AAP-recommended actions include banning tobacco advertising, including an adult rating to movies, TV shows, or video games that show tobacco use, and smoking bans in multi-unit housing like apartment buildings and condos.

Additional Information:

Last Updated
Adapted from Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, 6th Edition (Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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