When chemicals like carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke get into your baby's blood, they can cause harm and hinder growth. Women who stop smoking before pregnancy or early in their pregnancy reduce their chances of having a low birth weight baby.
Quitting smoking early in your pregnancy helps increase the amount of oxygen your baby gets -- it happens after just one day of not smoking -- and increases the chances that their lungs will function normally. Quitting can also reduce the chances of stillbirth, sudden early infant death syndrome and also improves the health of the mother. You will have more energy and you will feel good about what you have done for yourself and your child.
Babies of smokers are more likely to suffer from asthma and other respiratory infections than those of non-smokers. If you stay smokefree, your child will get fewer chest colds, coughs and ear infections, wheeze less and be more unlikely to become a smoker!
Be careful to avoid smoky environments both in your own home and elsewhere. Tests show that within a matter of seconds after a pregnant woman breathes in second-hand tobacco smoke, it begins to affect her unborn baby. For example, at a certain age, unborn babies begin to "practice" the skills they will need to breathe later on. Muscles in their chests normally go through rhythmic contractions. But within seconds of being exposed to environmental tobacco smoke, these contractions can suddenly stop for hours at a time.