Scroll To Top



Priority Population: Pregnant & Postpartum Women

Pregnant women share the same bloodstream with their baby, so when they smoke, deadly tobacco poisons are shared with their baby. It’s critical for pregnant women to get the help they need to quit—for their own health and for the safety of the baby during and after pregnancy.

Tobacco Use Prevalence

  • In 2017, 12.6% of adult pregnant women in South Dakota currently smoked.
  • About half of the women who quit smoking during pregnancy relapse within 6 months of delivery.

Smoking During Pregnancy

Toxins and chemicals in tobacco products can harm a baby in the womb. Quitting tobacco reduces these risks.

  • Lowers the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Lowers the risk of a premature birth
  • Lowers the risk of low birthweight
  • Increases the airflow to baby
  • Increases the chances baby’s lungs will work well
  • Less likely for baby to have certain birth defects, like a cleft lip or cleft palate

Smoking before and during pregnancy can cause health problems for mothers, too.

  • Smoking makes it harder to get pregnant.
  • Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a miscarriage.  
  • Smoking during pregnancy can cause the placenta (the source of baby’s food and oxygen) to separate from the womb too early, causing bleeding, which is dangerous to both mother and baby.

Second and Thirdhand Smoke

Toxins and chemicals in tobacco products can harm a baby in the womb. Quitting tobacco reduces these risks. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Parents can protect their families by:

  • Making homes and cars smoke-free
  • Asking people not to smoke around them or their children
  • Making sure that their children’s daycare center or school is smoke-free
  • Choosing restaurants and other businesses that are smoke-free
  • Teaching children to stay away from secondhand smoke

Thirdhand smoke is also toxic.

  • Thirdhand smoke consists of particles and gasses that cling to a smoker’s hair and clothing.
  • It contains heavy metals, carcinogens, and even radioactive materials.
  • Even after secondhand smoke has completely cleared, the residue remains.
  • This residue sticks to furniture, carpet, curtains, blankets, stuffed toys, walls, and every other surface in a house or car.
  • Babies and young children (even pets) can get this on their hands and clothes and then ingest—especially if they’re crawling or playing on the floor.

South Dakota Services for Pregnant Women

Quitting tobacco can be especially challenging for pregnant and postpartum women. Because half of the women who quit smoking during pregnancy relapse within six months of delivery, the TCP has developed special services to help women quit and stay quit.

South Dakota QuitLine Postpartum Program

The South Dakota QuitLine offers free additional support to pregnant women who are using tobacco or vape during pregnancy. When they enroll for the QuitLine phone coaching program they will get all the regular benefits of the program which include up to five scheduled phone sessions with a coach and extra support as needed. Plus:

  • Pregnant women who enroll in the QuitLine Postpartum Program can receive up to four relapse prevention coaching calls.
  • They are eligible for up to three $25 gift card incentives awarded at milestones throughout the program.
  • If a relapse does occur at any time postpartum, the re-enrollment waiting period will be waived and they can start the regular coaching program over.
  • They will get a seven-month follow-up call based on graduation date from the full phone coaching program.

There’s also support for pregnant women who have quit tobacco or vape during their pregnancy on their own.

  • They can enroll in the Postpartum Program up to two weeks before their due date and do not have to complete the full phone coaching program.
  • They can receive two gift cards—one after their initial call and one after their final postpartum program call.
  • To receive these extra services, all they have to do is sign up while they are pregnant.

PRAMS Survey

Because South Dakota has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the U.S., the South Dakota Department of Health uses the CDC (Center for Disease Control) PRAMS survey to help guide the state’s services and programs for new mothers and their children.

Along with the PRAMS summary and report, infographics for breastfeeding, early prenatal care, and smoking during pregnancy are available for download on the South Dakota Department of Health website.