Smoking cigarettes

There are many chemicals in tobacco that have been proven to cause cancer. Nicotine is what makes smoking so addictive.

Smoking and pregnancy

Smoking when you are pregnant may:

  • lead to stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth
  • stop your baby from growing properly
  • affect your baby’s ability to breathe properly after the birth
  • increase the chance that your baby will die from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

What you can do

  • If you can’t give up smoking, your doctor may be able to give you medication to help.
  • Encourage your partner to get help for smoking too.
  • Don’t be discouraged – every cigarette you don’t smoke is good for your baby.
  • If you stop smoking by the fourth month of pregnancy, your baby’s birth weight is still likely to be normal.
  • Call QuitLine on 13 78 48.

After your baby is born

Cigarette smoke can make your newborn baby sick.Keep your baby away from cigarette smoke. If you or your partner continue to smoke after the baby is born you will need to:

  • smoke outside and when friends and family visit ask them to smoke outside too
  • be aware that cigarette smoke gets on your clothes and is harmful for the baby to breathe in. Change your top layer of clothing after you smoke
  • wash your hands and face thoroughly after smoking and before you touch your baby
  • never smoke in the car, especially when children are present.


Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby; it is also good for your health. 

It is better to breastfeed and smoke than not to breastfeed at all. Nicotine passes rapidly into your breast milk and affects how much milk you have. Nicotine in breast milk and passive smoking can give your baby chest infections, vomiting, diarrhoea and irritability.

  • Avoid smoking for half an hour before you breastfeed.
  • If you are using nicotine gum, breastfeed first then chew the gum after so there is less nicotine in your breast milk.
  • Try not to breastfeed when you smell of cigarette smoke.


The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.