Women who smoke cigarettes have more difficulty becoming pregnant and have a higher risk of never becoming pregnant. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risks for pregnancy complications, premature birth, spontaneous abortion and stillbirth.
Babies of mothers who smoked cigarettes during pregnancy on average have lower birth weights. Low birth weight babies are at greater risk for childhood and adult illnesses and even death. Women who quit cigarette smoking before the third trimester (the last three months) of pregnancy are more likely to have babies who are close to normal weight.
Smoking by pregnant women can cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). According to the 2004 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, infants whose mothers smoked before and after birth are at three to four times greater risk for SIDS, and babies exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are at twice the risk.
When mothers smoke cigarettes during pregnancy, it hurts their babies’ lungs. Infants of mothers who smoked cigarettes during pregnancy have reduced lung function and may have increased frequency of lower respiratory tract illness. They may also have increased risk for impaired lung function in childhood and adulthood. For pregnant women, cigarette smoking could also put their babies at increased risk of asthma and respiratory infections.
For information and support on quitting smoking, please visit the Supporting Cessation section on Altria Group's website.