Before You Become Pregnant, Kick these 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.


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.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

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, especially babies.

  • 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


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 transmitted diseases. Also, 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.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Babies whose mothers drink when they are pregnant may be born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). FASD includes a range of disabilities in children caused by their mothers drinking during pregnancy. FASD is preventable.

Illegal Drugs

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. Other drugs, such as prescription drugs, used for purposes other than intended are harmful to you and your baby.


Smoking Cessation

North Carolina


Alcohol/Other Drugs

North Carolina

  • Perinatal Substance Abuse Program – 1-800-688-4232
    or visit Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in NC – for information on materials and meetings
  • MotherToBabyNC : 1-800-532-6302: Provides free, confidential information about medications and more during pregnancy and breastfeeding.