Stop smoking services

Support to quit smoking before, during and after pregnancy

Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. It can be difficult to stop smoking, but it is never too late to quit.

The good news is, that your Smoking Cessation Midwife Team will be able to support you with education that can help you quit and it is safe to use during and after pregnancy.

Before pregnancy

If you and your partner are planning for a baby and you both smoke, the sooner you quit smoking the better.

Did you know?

  • it can take smokers twice as long to fall pregnant compared to non-smokers
  • quitting smoking can improve the lining of the womb
  • smoking reduces the success rate of fertility treatment
  • women who smoke are twice as likely to be infertile as non-smokers.
  • men’s fertility can also be affected by smoking tobacco
  • it is ideal if you can stop smoking at least four months before getting pregnant but stopping at any point really helps
  • it is safe to use Nicotine Replacement Therapy and e-cigarettes for both you and your partner if you are trying to conceive, which can be obtained through your GP, Pharmacy or supporting vape shop

(Information retrieved from Tommy’s Charity for Babies)

The following link has more information on the affects smoking has on fertility.

During pregnancy

Quitting smoking in pregnancy as soon as possible is one of the most crucial things you can do to significantly reduce the risks of health problems for you in your pregnancy and your baby.

Smoking in pregnancy harms babies before birth, during infancy and into childhood. The risks are:


  • miscarriage
  • placental abruption
  • stillbirth
  • birth defects


  • prematurity
  • low birth weight
  • sudden infant death syndrome
  • infections


  • chest and ear infections
  • learning difficulties
  • asthma
  • ADHD

Video about the harms from exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy:

During your first booking appointment with your Midwife, they will ask you a range of questions to help find out what care you need, which also includes if you and/or your partner smoke.

Your Midwife will then ask you to complete a Carbon Monoxide breath test, even if you are a non-smoker. Tobacco smoke contains Carbon Monoxide (CO) which is toxic, so your midwife will check your CO levels with a Breathalyzer. If your reading comes up at 4 and above ppm (parts per million), you are above the recommended exposure of Carbon Monoxide which can harm you and your baby. The following link has more information on Carbon Monoxide Screening.

Second hand smoke

If you are a non-smoker but live with someone who smokes, second-hand (passive) smoke contains four thousand toxins which can also affect bystanders and women who are pregnant.

Therefore, we strongly advise pregnant women to live in a smokefree home and reduce your exposure to second hand smoke. The following link has more information on second hand smoke during pregnancy.

What support is available?

You are three times more likely to stop smoking with the right support and medication. A lone quitter with no support has about a 3% chance of success.

At your booking appointment, your midwife will refer you to the Smoking Cessation Midwife Team who will discuss your support pathway.

The smoking cessation advisor may also discuss stop smoking support for your partner, as you are likely to quit with the support of your partner, therefore quitting smoking together will significantly improve your chances of quitting smoking for good.

If you live in Southend and have any questions about your maternity stop smoking pathway, please email the MSE Smoking Cessation Midwife Team -

Nicotine replacement therapy

Pregnant women will receive a direct supply of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) from the Smoking Cessation Midwife. Partners will be referred to the Southend Stop Smoking Service

After pregnancy

New parents manage to stay smokefree after the baby is born, but some parents may go back to smoking which increases the risk of the baby being exposed to toxins found in second-hand smoke.

We understand there are certain triggers after pregnancy which can cause parents to go back to smoking but talking to your health visitor and planning will help. Find out more information to remain smokefree after pregnancy.

Contact the stop smoking service

Telephone: 01702 212000

Go to top