Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you’re probably feeling a lot of pressure to quit smoking. Maybe you feel more motivated to quit.

Tobacco smoke is harmful to you and to your baby, even before he or she is born. Second hand smoke from your partner can also impact your pregnancy, your health and the development of your baby.

Tobacco Free Nova Scotia offers free, confidential and non-judgemental support about how you and/or your partner can to quit smoking or cut back. A caring counsellor can work with you, at your pace, to help you develop and follow your plan. 

When you stop smoking, both you and your baby will feel the benefits immediately. Carbon monoxide and other chemicals will quickly leave your body. This means that there'll be more oxygen in your blood, making both you and your baby healthier.

To learn more…

Pregnancy

Breastfeeding

Staying quit after your baby is born

Other women, like you, have successfully quit smoking. View their stories

Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a time when you feel motivated to quit smoking. You could also be feeling a lot of pressure to quit when you aren’t ready.

Take some time to think about what you need and want for yourself and for you baby. Then reach out and get support from people who care for you or from the Tobacco Free Nova Scotia program.

We’re here to help.

Here are some facts about smoking and pregnancy:

  • You are physically connected to your baby through an organ called the placenta. The placenta passes what you eat, drink and breathe along to your baby.
  • Chemicals in cigarettes (nicotine, carbon monoxide and others) are passed by your bloodstream into your placenta and to your baby.
  • These chemicals can slow down your baby’s growth. Babies exposed to tobacco smoke are, on average, smaller and less healthy at birth.
  • If you smoke, your baby has a higher chance of having asthma, ear infections and other health problems.
  • If you smoke, your baby’s chance of dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) are higher.

The risks to your baby are dose dependent. The more you smoke the greater the potential harms.

It’s best to quit smoking before you are pregnant.

Quitting within the first three or four months or at any time of your pregnancy can improve your baby’s health.

If you are a heavy smoker and you feel you can’t quit, cutting back will still help. 

The Tobacco Free Nova Scotia program offers free, confidential and non-judgemental support about how you can quit smoking or cut back. A caring counsellor can work with you, at your pace, to help you develop and follow your plan. 

When you’re ready, we’re ready.

Additional resources:

Other women like you have successfully quit smoking. View their stories...

Expecting to quit

Pregnets

Breastfeeding

Breast milk is the best food you can give your baby. It is full of rich nutrients that gives your baby exactly what he or she needs to grow.

Continue to breastfeed even if you smoke. A smoker's breast milk is still better than feeding your baby formula.

Harmful chemicals like nicotine from smoking and second hand smoke can be passed to your baby through your breast milk. The concentration of nicotine in breast milk will vary depending on how many cigarettes you smoked since your last breastfeeding. It also depends on how much time has passed since your last cigarette and your baby’s current feed. If you are still smoking try having your cigarette right after the baby finishes feeding so the nicotine level in the milk won’t be as high by the time of the next feeding. Also avoid second hand smoke.

Quitting is the best thing you can do for your own and your baby’s health. If you can’t quit, try to cut back.

The Tobacco Free Nova Scotia program offers free, confidential and non-judgemental support about how you can quit smoking or cut back. A caring counsellor can work with you, at your pace, to help you develop and follow your plan. 

When you’re ready, we’re ready.

Additional resources:

Other women like you have successfully quit smoking. View their stories here..

Expecting to quit

Pregnets

Staying quit

Taking care of a newborn can be hard. You may feel stressed with everything you have to do. You’re probably tired. Maybe you and your partner are arguing more.

Women can relapse to smoking after their baby is born. This could be because

  • nicotine cravings come back
  • they feel smoking can help them manage the stress of caring for a newborn
  • they want to control their weight.

Once your baby is here, staying smoke free is just as important for you both. Try not to start smoking again.

Second-hand smoke is harmful to your baby. Even if you don’t smoke around the baby, poisons from cigarettes can stay in your clothes and hair. Your baby will be exposed to these.

Many new moms also feel sad after their baby is born. These emotions are normal in the first couple of weeks because your body’s hormones are changing.

For some women, these feelings are stronger and last longer. You may feel hopeless, have a hard time concentrating or feel you are unable to cope. You could be experiencing post-partum depression and you need extra help. Talk to your health care provider. You can also call the Tobacco Free Nova Scotia program for support.

The Tobacco Free Nova Scotia program offers free, confidential and non-judgemental support about how you can quit smoking. A caring counsellor can work with you, at your pace, to help you develop and follow your plan. 

When you’re ready, we’re ready.

Additional resources:

Other women like you have successfully quit smoking. View their stories here: http://www.expectingtoquit.ca/resources/

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Sources for this page:

Expecting to Quit, Pregnets, Health Canada, and Smokefree moms.