More than 8 percent of women smoke while pregnant, despite risks

About 8.4 percent of women smoke during pregnancy, despite the risks for the developing fetus, according to new data out Wednesday from the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The habit is most prevalent during the first two trimesters, with 20.6 percent of women who smoked during pregnancy quitting by the third trimester.

The CDC warns that smoking while pregnant raises the risk of premature deliveries, low birth weight, and certain birth defects, such as cleft lips. The babies are also at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome.

Other major findings:

article continues after advertisement

  • 1 in 10 women who gave birth in 2014 smoked in the three months before they got pregnant.

  • The highest rate of smoking during pregnancy occurred in American Indian or Alaskan Native women, 18 percent of whom smoked at some point while pregnant.

  • About 13 percent of women between ages 20 and 24 who gave birth last year smoked while pregnant, the highest prevalence of any age group.

  • Smoking during pregnancy was least common in California — just 1.8 percent of women did so. The rate was highest in West Virginia, where 27.1 percent of women smoked during pregnancy.

  • Women who smoked during pregnancy did smoke fewer cigarettes as the pregnancy went on — on average, they smoked 13 cigarettes a day before becoming pregnant and 9 cigarettes a day by the third trimester.

Quick Take brings you a short rundown on new scientific findings. For more Quick Takes, subscribe to the free Morning Rounds newsletter.

Subscribe to our new
Trump in 30 seconds newsletter

The latest on what the Trump presidency means for health care, hospitals, drug companies, and medical research

Recommended Stories

Lisette Poole for STAT Agustin Lage Davila, director of the Center for Molecular Immunology in Havana.
Desmond Boylan/AP Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell (right) arrives at the…
Keystone/Getty Images Fidel Castro talks to Cuban medical staff who are going to Peru…


Cuba's biotech industry is one of the legacies of Fidel Castro. Donald Trump's election is threatening to derail efforts to bring Cuban medicines to the US.

By Rob Waters