Our children are sacred. They represent our culture and way of life. They are our future. Pregnant women can protect our children by quitting tobacco before, during, and after pregnancy.

Dangers of Nicotine

Almost all commercial tobacco products—including cigarettes, vape, chew, and hookah—contain nicotine.

Nicotine is especially dangerous for pregnant women:

  • It is highly addictive
  • Disrupts the formation of brain circuits that control attention and learning
  • Using nicotine—especially if you are under the age of 25—makes you more likely to become addicted
  • Can increase blood pressure and heart rate causing arteries to stiffen up, which means a higher risk for things like heart attack
  • Affects the way your body digests sugar (insulin resistance) and can increase your risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Nicotine can put your baby at risk:

  • Nicotine can damage a baby’s brain as it grows in the womb
  • Nicotine is toxic to a developing fetus

Dangers of Smoking While Pregnant

Smoking during pregnancy harms your baby

When you smoke, the chemicals and toxins in commercial tobacco products enter your body. Because you and your baby share the same bloodstream, deadly tobacco poisons in your system are shared with your baby.

Smoking can increase the risk of:

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Harm to baby’s lungs
  • Birth defects like cleft lip or palate

Smoking before and during pregnancy causes health problems for mothers:

  • Smoking makes it harder to get pregnant.
  • Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a miscarriage.
  • Smoking during pregnancy can cause the placenta (the source of baby’s food and oxygen) to separate from the womb too early, causing bleeding, which is dangerous to both mother and baby.
woman holding a filled balloon with a fetus inside

When you smoke, so does your baby.


Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke for pregnant women or anyone else. Infants and young children are especially vulnerable. Learn more about the health effects of secondhand smoke.

Help for Pregnant Women and Mothers

The most important time for a woman to quit smoking can also be the most difficult. About half of the women who smoke during pregnancy relapse within 6 months after having their baby—making it important for pregnant women and new moms to have extra support.

Nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco products or vape can harm babies during pregnancy. Check with your doctor before you use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) medications like patches, lozenges or gum.

South Dakota QuitLine Postpartum Program

The South Dakota QuitLine offers free support to pregnant women who are using tobacco or vape during pregnancy. When pregnant women enroll in the QuitLine phone coaching program, they get all of the benefits of the program (up to twelve phone sessions with a coach) and extra support including:

  • Up to four relapse prevention coaching calls
  • Gift cards awarded at milestones throughout the program
  • If a relapse does occur at any time after their baby is born, the re-enrollment waiting period is waived and mom can start the coaching program over
  • A seven-month follow-up call for added support

Women who quit tobacco or vape during their pregnancy on their own:

  • Do not have to complete the full phone coaching program
  • Are eligible for the Postpartum Program – up to two weeks before their due date
  • Gift card incentives available