How does smoking affect my unborn baby?
It's hard to imagine when you can't see your baby, but everything you breathe in passes through to your baby (including secondhand smoke). Each cigarette contains more than 4,000 chemicals.
When you smoke, carbon monoxide and other harmful toxins travel from your lungs, into your bloodstream, through your placenta and into your baby's body. When this happens, your baby struggles for oxygen. When your baby can't get enough oxygen, this affects their development.
E-cigarettes in pregnancy
E-cigarettes are fairly new and there are still some things we do not know. However, current evidence on e-cigarettes indicates they are much less risky than smoking.
Cigarettes deliver nicotine along with thousands of harmful chemicals. E-cigarettes allow you to inhale nicotine through a vapour rather than smoke. By itself, nicotine is relatively harmless.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, the 2 main toxins in cigarette smoke. Carbon monoxide is particularly harmful to developing babies. The vapour from an e-cigarette does contain some of the potentially harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.
If using an e-cigarette helps you to stop smoking, it is much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke.
Unlike nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as patches or gum, e-cigarettes are not available on an NHS prescription. If you want to use an e-cigarette, you can still get free expert help from a stop smoking adviser.
Call the NHS Smokefree helpline on [[Tel: 0300 123 1044|0300 123 1044]] for more information, or ask a midwife to refer you.