Smoking during pregnancy

If you are pregnant and you smoke, the best thing you can do for your baby is to stop. Quitting smoking can be difficult so ask for help.

The earlier you stop, the greater the benefits. Stopping completely is the only effective way to protect yourself and your baby. It’s never too late.


Free non-judgmental support is available from the HSE’s

As soon as you stop, the chemicals will start to clear from your body and your baby will get more oxygen.

Smoking when pregnant is harmful to you and to your baby. Inhaling smoke from other people’s cigarettes can also harm your baby.

Whether you smoke or not, make your home and car smoke-free areas. This will help to protect against harm caused by second-hand smoke.

Benefits of quitting for you and your baby

Smoking cuts down the amount of oxygen and nutrients that get to your baby through the placenta.

Your baby needs these to grow and develop, so babies of women who smoke tend to be smaller.

A smaller baby does not mean an easier delivery. The baby’s head won’t be much smaller but their lungs and heart may be under developed and weaker.

If you smoke, stopping before or during pregnancy will reduce the risk of:

Help for quitting smoking

The first thing you should do is to get in touch with QUIT, part of the HSE’s smoking cessation services.

Advice and support from QUIT

QUIT provides free advice and support for people who want to quit smoking. This is non-judgemental.

QUIT’s smoking cessation practitioners are available by phone, Facebook, LIVE chat or Freetext. You can also sign up for a daily email or SMS support.


Freephone 1800 201 203
Freetext QUIT to 50100
Get started on
Find local HSE QUIT support groups
Tweet the QUIT team @hseQUITteam
Join our Facebook page

You can also talk to your GP, midwife or obstetrician who may refer you to a smoking cessation clinic. Some maternity hospitals have trained smoking cessation midwives.

Nicotine replacement therapy and pregnancy

Nicotine replacement therapy can reduce or remove the physical symptoms of withdrawal.

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant and smoke, you can try nicotine replacement therapy to help you quit.

If you are already pregnant and smoke, talk to your smoking cessation practitioner, GP, midwife, pharmacist or obstetrician before using it.

E-cigarettes and pregnancy

E-cigarettes are not safe or effective in helping to quit smoking in pregnancy. They are not currently recommended for pregnant women.

The HSE’s has more information and advice on smoking and pregnancy.

Tips during pregnancy - HSE

Staying healthy during your pregnancy - HSE

Page last reviewed: 17 September 2018
Next review due: 17 September 2021