Smoke free pregnancy

Maternity - pregnant woman with hand on her baby bump

We know that most people who smoke would like to quit

We understand that it’s not always easy to stop smoking. We are here to support you to protect your baby and yourself.

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 ( ).

The NHS website explains the benefits of stopping smoking in pregnancy.

Maternity - stop smoking message

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 (

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 from Yorkshire Smokefree which helps explain why we want to encourage pregnant women to stop smoking: 

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 this video of how Laura quit with help from her stop smoking adviser:

Q: What might help me to stop?             

You are 3x more likely to stop with help from a local stop smoking service with access to Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) than using will power alone.

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 this video of how Victoria and her partner Mark quit smoking together when she found out she was pregnant.

Useful resources and links

Useful resources and links

Test your breath: information for pregnant women

Using e-cigarettes before, during and after pregnancy 

Useful contacts 

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.

Talk to you midwife as they will be able to help you to access support to quit.