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Information for Health Professionals and Community Partners

Smoking during pregnancy can harm the health of a woman and her unborn baby.


The Facts

Smoking during pregnancy accounts for up to 10 percent of all infant deaths.

Pregnant women who are exposed to secondhand smoke have 20 percent higher odds of giving birth to a low birth weight baby than women who are not exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy.  Low birth weight can lead to invite deaths.

Oakland County Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) data shows that tobacco use is one of the most significant factors present in cases where infants were born prematurely and subsequently died.   Of 141 infant death cases reviewed FIMR reports:

  • 33.3% of mothers self-reported smoking during their pregnancy.
  • 13.5% of the infants were exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • 41.7% of mothers who had pre-term births smoked during pregnancy. 

Risks

  • Women who smoke during pregnancy are twice as likely to have a low birth weight baby.
  • Pregnant smokers are more likely to deliver babies prematurely, increasing their risk of infant death.
  • Women who smoke are less likely to breastfeed than nonsmokers.  They are also more likely to wean earlier if they breastfeed.

What can community partners do?

  • Talk to women of childbearing age or who are  pregnant about the benefits of not smoking.
  • Offer Quit Smoking classes or support groups.
  • Refer women who want to quit to local resources to help them quit.  Check with your local American Lung Association chapter for assistance.
  • Be supportive. Encourage women to "Keep Quitting" if they have failed a previous attempt.
  • Provide literature about the harmful effects of smoking, benefits of quitting, and resources and ideas for quitting.  Literature is available through the MDCH Health Promotions Clearinghouse.

Oakland County Health Division can help!

Oakland County Health Division provides information,resources, and home visits by a public health nurse to pregnant women. 

The Health Division's Health Education unit offers Quit Smoking presentations and resources to community groups.

Contact the Nurse On Call at 248-858-1406 or Toll Free at 1-800-848-5533.