Things to Avoid During Pregnancy

Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs can harm an unborn baby. If you get pregnant, it is important to stop using or cut down if you can. If you need help, talk to a nurse at your local health centre.


Cigarette smoke makes it harder for unborn babies to grow properly, and increases the risk of miscarriage. You can try to cut down or quit smoking, and try to avoid people who smoke around you, so the baby can:

  • Be born at the right time—not too early
  • Have a healthy birth weight—not too small
  • Have lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Have lower risk of breathing problems
  • Have lower risk of ear infections.


It is safest not to use any alcohol while pregnant. Unborn babies exposed to alcohol are at risk for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder [FASD].

FASD is a term that describes a range of effects that a baby may experience if a pregnant person drinks alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioural, and/or learning disabilities.

It can be hard, but many people are able to stop or reduce their substance use when they find out they are pregnant. If you are unable to quit completely, try to lower the amount that you use each day. Talk to a friend, family member, or health care professional that you trust if you are considering stopping or cutting down on drinking and need support.


It is safest for pregnant and people that are breast-feeding to avoid cannabis use. There is no known safe amount of cannabis to use during pregnancy. Cannabis use during pregnancy may cause the baby to be born small and may cause the child to have problems with memory, attention, problem solving, and behaviour


Tell your health care provider about any medication you take and how often because some drugs and supplements can harm unborn babies. Some drugs can harm babies after birth, through breast milk.

  • Illegal drugs—heroine, marijuana (cannabis), cocaine, meth, etc.
  • Legal and prescription drugs,
  • Herbal supplements and vitamins


Some people who use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs have a hard time stopping.

If you or someone you know has trouble quitting or wishes to cut down on: smoking, drinking or drugs, there is help and support. Talk to your health care provider, mental health nurse, or social worker.

You can also contact: