Home Women Pregnancy Smoking and drugs

Smoking and drugs

Woman in red jacket

Smoking during pregnancy

When you smoke, harmful toxins (poisons) enter your bloodstream and pass through the placenta to your baby. These poisons harm your baby’s health, putting them at risk of problems including glue ear, asthma, pre-term birth and low birth weight. Smoking can also increase the risk of miscarriage and Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy (SUDI).

Stopping smoking has huge benefits for you and your baby, even if you have smoked for a part of your pregnancy, quitting will still have significant benefits for you both.

There are programmes designed specifically to help pregnant women stop smoking. Smoking is an addiction and it can be challenging to stop smoking alone, talk to your midwife about the support services available near you or visit smokefree.org.nz

Quitline offers a national service via text and phone.

Toxins from second hand smoke can also harm you and your baby so it’s important to make your home and car Smoke free and ask others not smoke around you.

Recreational drugs during pregnancy

Using recreational drugs can cause complications during pregnancy and serious problems in the developing fetus and the newborn baby. For pregnant women, injecting recreational drugs increases the risk of infections that can affect or be transmitted to the fetus. These infections include hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV).

Drugs such as methamphetamine can cause significant harm to your baby, including brain damage and birth defects. Other drugs such as heroin may cause your baby to be born drug dependent and suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Drug-dependent babies need expert care following birth.

If you are using drugs, talk to your midwife or GP. They are there to support you, not judge you and they will be able to refer you to a local service for further help and support. The Alcohol Drug Helpline provides free, confidential information, help and support:

  • 0800 787 797 (24 hours a day)
  • free text 8681