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There is a definite link between paternal and maternal smoking and the development of problems with pregnancy, low birth weight and birth defects.

In the United States, cigarette smoking is estimated to account for between 21% to 30% of the incidences of low birth weight babies (newborns weighing less than five pounds, eight ounces, approx 5.5kg). It is thought that cigarette smoke has a direct retarding effect on fetal growth. Women who smoke when pregnant have a greater risk of complications such as spontaneous abortion, stillbirth (where the baby dies prior to delivery), preterm birth (where the baby is delivered before 37 weeks), placenta previa (where the placenta is implanted in the lower, rather than upper, segment of the uterus), premature rupture of the membranes containing the fetus and amnionitis (inflammation caused by infection of the amniotic sac). Babies born to women who smoke are more likely to have brain and heart defects present from birth and birth defects of the face such as cleft lip. Smoking is also associated with SIDS .

Secondhand cigarette smoke in the air an infant breathes increases his/her risk of developing respiratory problems such as bronchitis and pneumonia during the first year of life.

A man who is a smoker prior to conception may develop sperm mutations which can contribute to the development of birth defects.


In no way is this information intended to replace the advice of a medical practitioner. Always consult your Doctor for diagnosis and advice.

Pregnant women should seek to quit smoking as it places their health and the health of their baby at risk. Ask your Doctor for advice about ways to stop smoking.

Diet Tips

See our Quitting Smoking page (insert link)



Quitline is a telephone information and advice or counselling service for people who want to quit smoking.

You can phone the Quitline on 13 7848 confidentially from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call only.

Ask Calanna

Ask your Pharmacist for advice.

  • Follow the diet hints.
  • If you need help to stop smoking, ask your Pharmacist for suggestions.


DISCLAIMER: This information is an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or naturopath before following any medical regimen to see whether it is safe and effective for you.