Smoking in pregnancy

What do we know?

Maternal smoking is a potential cause of major morbidity and mortality to the foetus and new born baby as well as increased healthcare costs due to supporting more complex pregnancies.

  • 32% increased risk of miscarriage (death before the 20th week of pregnancy)
  • 26% increased risk of perinatal death (death between 20 weeks pregnancy and first week of life)
  • Women who smoke are 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to have low birth weight babies being born less than 2.5kg (5.5lbs) (intrauterine growth retardation).

The affects on the baby vary and if the baby was born prematurely this increases the problems which could occur, e.g. risk of infections, breathing problems.

  • 27% increased risk of a preterm birth (birth before the 37th week of pregnancy).  Preterm birth is a major cause of infant mortality and can affect physical and mental development during childhood including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

    (Source: Royal College of Physicians: Passive Smoking and Children report 2010)

This is recognised by the government and smoking at time of delivery has been selected as one of the key indicators for success in the Public Health Outcomes Framework (2013).


Last updated Friday, 22nd April 2016