Pregnancy: the time to quit smoking or vaping
One of the best things you and your partner can do is keep your baby’s environment smoke and vape free – during pregnancy, after the birth and for the rest of your child’s life.
If you smoke or vape, now is a great time to quit. Quitting is good for your baby, your partner and you, now and in the future.
How to quit smoking or vaping during pregnancy
Call Quitline on 137 848 for help to quit or cut back on how much you smoke or vape. You can also talk to your GP or a counsellor about programs to help you quit.
If you’re not quite ready to quit, here are other things you can do to make sure your partner and unborn baby aren’t exposed to harmful smoke or vapour:
- Go outside and away from everyone when you smoke or vape.
- Don’t smoke or vape in your car.
- When you smoke or vape, cover your hair and clothes with something your partner won’t come into contact with.
- Wash your hands and brush your teeth after each time you smoke.
If someone else in your home smokes or vapes, you can ask them not to smoke or vape in your home or car, around you or where you can see them. It’s OK to let people know why you don’t want them to smoke or vape around you or your partner.
If your pregnant partner smokes or vapes and you try to quit, it might make it easier for your partner to stop smoking or vaping too. But if you keep smoking or vaping, it’ll be harder for your partner to quit and more likely that your partner will go back to smoking or vaping after baby is born. Ask your partner what help they need to quit.
What happens when you smoke or vape during your partner’s pregnancy
If you smoke or vape, you make second-hand smoke or vapour. This is smoke or vapour that you breathe out or smoke that drifts from the burning end of your cigarette. Second-hand smoke or vapour contains toxic chemicals – like nicotine – that your partner can breathe in. These chemicals can travel through your partner’s bloodstream and pass directly to your baby.
You also make third-hand smoke or vapour. This is what’s left behind after you’ve been smoking or vaping. It hangs around for hours on your hair, clothing and skin. It also hangs around in cars, furniture and carpets. This means your partner and baby are being exposed to toxic chemicals even after you’ve finished smoking or vaping.
How smoking or vaping during your partner’s pregnancy affects your child before and after birth
Your second-hand and third-hand smoke or vapour can cause serious harm to your child, before they’re born and during their childhood.
For example, unborn babies who are exposed to smoke or vapour are more likely to:
- be born prematurely or have low birth weight
- die during pregnancy or at birth
- die from sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).
In childhood, these babies and children are more likely to:
- get middle ear infections or have permanent hearing problems
- get breathing problems like asthma and pneumonia
- have birth defects
- have trouble settling and feeding.