There are increased risks involved when smoking during pregnancy and postnatally. Almost every study into the effect of maternal smoking during pregnancy has concluded that it causes an increased risk of SUDI.
You should keep your home and your car smoke-free. To reduce the risk of SUDI and other health related conditions for your baby don’t smoke, or allow anyone else to smoke in your home, car or in any other confined space where your baby will be. Babies living in an environment where smoking takes place are known from very many studies, to be more at risk of SUDI,
Second-hand cigarette smoke is dangerous as it limits the amount of oxygen circulating in your baby’s body. That means that your baby gets used to low levels of oxygen, and may not wake up if oxygen levels dip during sleep. Remember, babies and children breathe faster, their airways are narrower, and their immune systems aren’t fully developed. In addition, there are very many toxins in the particulate matter contained within exhaled smoke. These toxins are harmful to baby.
Third-hand smoke is the term used for the residue left on surfaces and fabrics from smoke. The NHS state that whilst the SUDI risk is unproven, it is plausible that third-hand smoke could damage health.
Each year, in Scotland, a large proportion of cot deaths occur in homes where one or more adults smoke.
Although the effects of smoking can increase the risk of SUDI, it also leads to other major risk factors for SUDI such as premature birth and low birth weight. This means that infants born to mothers who smoked in pregnancy and / or who live in homes where others smoke may be vulnerable in more than one way.
Studies show that the more smoking a developing fetus is exposed to, or the amount of smoking in the home of an infant, the greater the risk.
Although bed-sharing with an infant carries some risk to all babies, this risk is greatly increased if the parents/ caregivers smoke. This is true even when they are not smoking in bed with the baby present.
There are a range of smoking cessation services which your Midwife can help you access.
Things to consider-
The Benefits for all – Remember the overall health and financial benefits of stopping smoking for you and your family.
E-cigarettes and vaping – There is currently no evidence into the effects of the use of e-cigarettes and SUDI. These types of products are thought to be less harmful than smoking.
The Evidence For Our Non-Smoking Message
There is a large evidence-base from all over the world demonstrates that smoking during pregnancy and after the baby is born increase the risks of SIDS.*
One study in 2000 concluded that approximately 30–40% of all cases of SIDS could be avoided if all pregnant women stopped smoking.**