Shayla Lawrence, MPH
Public Health Coordinator- Maternal Tobacco Prevention
Shelby County Health Department
Upon learning she is pregnant, an expectant mother typically does whatever she can to make sure she and her baby stay healthy. She may start eating more nutritious foods, try to reduce her stress, stay away from potentially unsafe medications and stop drinking alcohol. For some mothers, one of the biggest challenges during pregnancy is to quit smoking.
Smoking poses many risks to mothers and babies during pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, create problems with the placenta, cause premature birth or low birth weight, and result in birth defects for the baby. Smoking during and after pregnancy also increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things a mother can do for herself and her baby during pregnancy. Quitting smoking can decrease the risk of the above mentioned health issues for babies, and it can also decrease the mother’s risk for many health concerns such as heart disease, lung cancer, stroke and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Other benefits include smelling better, breathing easier and saving money – very important when there is a new baby!
Shelby County mothers who are pregnant and smoke or who were smokers within three months prior to pregnancy can participate in a program that assists them with quitting smoking and staying quit. Baby and Me Tobacco Free provides education to mothers, and it also provides moms with free diapers for staying tobacco free. For more information on the Baby and Me Tobacco Free program, contact Shayla Lawrence at (901) 222-9268 or at Shayla.Lawrence@ShelbyCountyTN.gov.