It is a public health success that 55% of women smokers quit during pregnancy.1 Women understand that smoking can harm their developing fetus, including premature birth, birth defects, and stillbirth, and this provides the necessary motivation for overcoming the tobacco addiction.
Sadly, 40% of women who quit smoking relapse within 6 months of delivery.1 This is not surprising. Anyone who has cared for a newborn understands the multiple stresses of this period, exacerbated by loss of sleep. Postpartum depression is common, and the desire to lose weight after pregnancy may also drive women back to smoking. Also, women may be more aware of the harms of smoking to their developing fetus than to themselves or to their growing child.
Katz MH. Preventing Smoking Relapse After Delivery—Maintaining a Pregnant Pause. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(4):452. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.0360