Learn about NRT during pregnancy (Part 1 of 5). Nicotine is associated with negative pregnancy outcomes. It constricts arteries in the uterus and placenta, and as consequence may reduce foetal growth. Smokers tend to have babies who weigh 200–250 g less than non-smokers’ babies, but this is unlikely to be caused by nicotine alone. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has not shown any significant effect on foetal weight, but studies on this have been small and have not yet provided enough justification for recommending nicotine replacement therapy as a quitting aid for pregnant women.
Keeping in mind that the ultimate goal during pregnancy should be to avoid nicotine and tobacco, it is believed that the benefits of tobacco cessation during pregnancy outweigh the risks of using nicotine replacement therapy compared to the risks of continuing to smoke. While nicotine may be toxic to the foetus, the level of nicotine is reduced and exposure to the other toxic chemicals in cigarettes is avoided with nicotine replacement therapy.