Smoke free pregnancy

We know that most people who smoke would like to quit. We also understand that it’s not always easy.   pregnant woman looking content holding baby bump

Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do when you are pregnant to ensure the health and development of your baby.

Every cigarette you smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, so smoking when you are pregnant harms your unborn baby. Cigarettes can restrict the essential oxygen supply to your baby. As a result, their heart must beat harder every time you smoke (

Visit the NHS website to find out more about the benefits of stopping smoking in pregnancy.

We are here to support you to protect your baby and yourself. 


Here are some FAQs about stopping smoking when pregnant:

Q: Why do the midwife and doctor want me to stop smoking?    

Midwives and doctors are concerned when women smoke in pregnancy because we know that smoking in pregnancy can contribute to slow growth, premature birth, complications during the birth, still birth, low birth weight and sudden infant death (cot death).

Watch this video which helps explain why we want to encourage pregnant women to stop smoking: 

Stopping smoking will help both you and your baby immediately. Harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, and other damaging chemicals will clear from your body (

Q: What is a Carbon Monoxide (CO) test?

Carbon monoxide presents a risk to you and your baby and can be caused by smoking during pregnancy and some other environmental factors.

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas which can damage the placenta and deprive the baby of oxygen which they need for growth and development. Babies exposed to carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke are more likely to be small and weaker when they are born - this can lead to serious health issues at birth in childhood and in later life.

During your midwife appointments, you’ll be asked to do a CO test to check if the levels of carbon monoxide are high, and if so, your midwife can help you reduce your exposure.

This is a quick and simple breath test and the results are instant.

Q: I want to quit, but I need some help?

We have specialist services to help you to quit, see below for the services in your area.

They can offer prescriptions for nicotine replacement therapy, information as well as support and encouragement. They will help with tips on coping with cravings and information on how to stay smoke free. They can also help your family to quit.

Watch how Laura quit with help from her HNS stop smoking adviser:

Q: What might help me to stop?              

  • You are 2 x more likely to stop if you meet with a specialist advisor and get their support.
  • You are 2 x more likely to stop if you use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).
  • 4 x more likely if you do both.

Q: What about e-cigarettes?            

Although the safety of any product cannot be guaranteed, especially in pregnancy. In recent years more people are stopping smoking with e-cigarettes than any other method. Public Health England suggests that based on what we know at this time, e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes. Read the document here which includes more information on using e-cigarettes in pregnancy.

Does your partner smoke?

If your partner smokes then help them to quit smoking too. Couples who quit smoking together have more chance of success. Watch how Victoria and her partner Mark quit smoking together when she found out she was pregnant:

Why is a smoke free home important?

Smoke free homes are also really important. Children breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke results in thousands of GP visits and hospital admissions each year. Over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible. If anyone smokes near you, you will be exposed to second hand smoke.

Smoking in the home significantly increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death (cot death).

Second hand smoke is dangerous because the harmful gases and chemicals are inhaled by you and your baby. Babies and children should always be in smoke free air. If someone wants to smoke in your home, ask them to go outside.

Image containing information about why a smoke free home is safest for baby and mother

(Source: Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and Public Health England.)

Useful resources 

Useful links

If you live in Pontefract or Wakefield Click here to access support to quit

If you live in Kirklees, you can contact Aunty Pam's on: 07779 993764.


If you are coming to us for your birth but you live outside the Wakefield /Dewsbury area you can contact the specialist service in your area.

Barnsley: 01226 431621 

Doncaster: 01302 566776

Calderdale: 01422 262373

Contact information

For further information, please contact Shelly Gascoigne (Specialist Midwife for Smoking Cessation) on 07765 243 597.