Kick bad habits
Habits are things we do over and over again without thinking
about it. "Bad habits" are things we do over and
over again that can cause harm. Using cigarettes, alcohol,
and other drugs harm women and can lead to sickness and even
death in babies. Before you become pregnant,
kick these bad habits.
Tobacco - Nix the Smokes!
Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death and
illness. Now is the time to quit
smoking. Women who are pregnant and smoke are more likely
than non-smokers to have babies born too early and too small
to be healthy.
Smoking during pregnancy can cause:
- A miscarriage
- Bleeding in your womb
- Labor that starts too early
What smoking during pregnancy does to the baby:
- Increases the risk of the baby being born dead
- Slows the baby's growth so it may be born too small
to be healthy
- Increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
True or False?
Women who smoke have small babies and an easy delivery.
True or False?
If you don't quit smoking completely, it doesn't matter
how much you smoke.
True or False?
Smoking affects babies and children of all ages.
True or False?
Quitting smoking before I get pregnant is the best
time to quit.
For help and resources, check out the Quit
smoking section of this Web site.
Stay Away from Secondhand Smoke
Research shows you don't have to be the one smoking to be
hurt by cigarettes. Secondhand smoke is dangerous for non-smokers,
- Make a
plan to stay away from secondhand smoke - especially
if you are trying to get pregnant!
- Ask your partner, co-worker or friend to smoke outside
- Eat in smoke-free restaurants or non-smoking sections
- Say "no thanks" when friends offer you a cigarette
- Say "yes, thanks for asking" if a friend asks
if her smoke bothers you
- Spend time outside or go to a non-smoking place (movies,
library, malls, etc.)
- Make a list of reasons for wanting to quit and look
at it often
Remember, most people will not smoke around you if you ask
Alcohol - Cut Down and Then Cut Out!
Alcohol affects women differently than men; it takes less
alcohol to affect women's health and behavior.
- Alcohol can affect your judgment and cause you to do
things you wouldn't normally do - including having unprotected
sex which can lead to pregnancy and sexually
- In large amounts, alcohol poisons the body and can cause
- Over time, alcohol can cause damage to the liver, heart,
brain and nervous system
- A 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine and
a 1 1/2-ounce shot of hard liquor all contain about the
same amount of alcohol
- If you could get pregnant, drinking alcohol is not a
good idea. Half of all pregnancies are unplanned
- There is no known safe amount of alcohol for pregnant
women to drink. When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol
in her blood goes to her unborn baby and can hurt the baby.
- Babies whose mothers drink when they are pregnant may
be born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
FASD includes a range of disabilities in children caused
by their mothers drinking during pregnancy. FASD is preventable.
Children with FASD may:
- Be born small - be shorter and weigh less at birth
- Be born with brain damage
- Have problems seeing and hearing
- Have trouble following directions and learning to do
- Have trouble paying attention and learning in school
- Have trouble getting along with others and controlling
- Need medical care all their lives
- Need special teachers and schools
Social Drugs - Stop Now!
Social drugs are drugs you choose to use to make yourself
feel better but are not needed for a medical condition
or illness.They are harmful to your health and can cause
serious problems for an unborn baby. If you use social drugs,
get help and quit now.
Some social drugs are illegal. They include:
Other drugs are legal, but can be used in a way that can
cause harm. They include:
- Medicines ordered by a doctor to cure an illness, relieve
pain or prevent illness. These medications should not be
shared or used to get "high"
- Medicines that can be bought at the drug store. Normal
doses may be harmful if a woman takes them and is pregnant
If you use drugs only occasionally or even just once, it
is enough to harm an unborn baby or cause an addiction. For
more information, contact the Substance Use Specialist at 1-800-688-4232. For
more information about medicines during pregnancy visit
Exposures During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Frequently
Asked Questions (FAQs).
Association of Local Health Directors - lists all local
health departments by county and region
Now North Carolina - Find support, quit help-lines,
and materials to stop smoking now
Exposure Riskline - 1-800-532-6302
or visit Fetal
Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in NC - for information on
materials and meetings
Anonymous (AA) - or check your local phone book for
listings in your area.
For more health information, search MedlinePlus
Back to top
Last updated: April 2013