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February 2019

Is It Safe to Vape During Pregnancy?

Young woman vaping and looking at her phone

It’s well known that smoking and pregnancy don’t mix. The nicotine and other chemicals cigarette smoke contains can increase the risk for:

  • Premature birth

  • Birth defects

  • Low birth weight

  • SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)

  • Stillbirth or miscarriage

Some may believe that e-cigarettes, a popular smoking substitute, may be OK for pregnant women to use. In fact, according to a survey of a little more than 300 pregnant women published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, 43% thought that smoking an e-cigarette, known as vaping, was less harmful to unborn babies than smoking traditional cigarettes.

E-cigarettes contain liquid nicotine that gets inhaled as a mist (vapor). When you vape, the nicotine passes through the placenta and into your baby’s bloodstream, just as when you smoke a regular cigarette.

Nicotine in any form is toxic to unborn babies and can impair your baby’s brain and lung development. Vaping smoke may also contain some of the other harmful chemicals that are found in regular cigarettes.

Quit tips

Kicking the habit by not vaping or smoking at all before getting pregnant is your best bet. But it’s not too late to quit if you’re already pregnant. The sooner you stop smoking or vaping, the healthier everyone can be. According to the CDC, 55% of women who smoked 3 months before they were expecting were able to quit during pregnancy. To join their ranks:

  • Set a quit date. On that day, toss out everything related to smoking, including your e-cigarettes, cigarettes, matches, ashtrays, and lighters.

  • Distract yourself. When you want to vape or smoke, chew gum, go for a walk, or squeeze a stress ball instead.

  • Get help. Join a smoking-cessation program either online or in person.

  • List your reasons for quitting, such as wanting to give your baby the healthiest possible start. Post your list in a place where you’ll see it often, such as on your refrigerator.



Online Medical Reviewer: Gonnella, Joseph, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 10/16/2018
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