Alcohol and Tobacco Use
Avoid Alcohol during Pregnancy
It is recommended that you don’t drink at all during pregnancy. There is no known safe amount of alcohol use in pregnancy, and there is no known safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. The baby’s brain and nervous system develop throughout pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can result in lifelong disabilities for your child called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Children with FASD have problems with hearing, speech and vision, learning problems, poor memory, and poor coordination. They also have difficulty handling emotions. Also, alcohol provides calories with little nutrition. It is never too late to quit or cut down.
If you cannot stop drinking completely, it is important to reduce the amount you drink. Less is better, none is best.
If you find it hard to stop drinking, there are many resources you can use to help you. Motherisk is a Canadian organization that provides specific support for pregnant and breastfeeding women. For information and counselling about alcohol and substance use, call 1‑877‑327‑4636 or visit the Motherisk website.
For more information about alcohol use in pregnancy and more resources to help you stop drinking, click here.
Reduce and Stop Smoking during Pregnancy
Smoking and second‑hand smoke are harmful during pregnancy. Cigarettes contain many chemicals that cross the placenta into the developing baby’s blood. Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy can harm your developing baby's growth, and can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight, and other problems for you and your baby. If you are pregnant and smoke, now is the time for both you and your partner to reduce and stop smoking. If you find it hard to stop smoking, there are many resources you can use to help you.
For more information about tobacco use in pregnancy, and the many resources and supports that are available to help you reduce and stop, click here.
If you are in your 3rd trimester and are continuing to smoke, or if your partner smokes, it is best if you work to reduce and stop smoking before your baby is born. Smoking and second‑hand smoke after birth contributes to a higher risk of:
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- A reduced milk supply in the mother.
- More hospital admissions in the first year of life than children of non‑smoking parents. Children of smokers have more ear infections, asthma and bronchitis.
- Your child also becoming a smoker.