No, e-cigarettes are not safe in pregnancy. The popularity of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed in the last few years in part due to the assumption that they are a better alternative to traditional cigarettes.
Maternal smoking is known to cause low birth weight and to increase the rate of both premature birth and SIDS. While e-cigarettes are free of tar, carbon monoxide, and cyanide, dangerous chemicals found in traditional cigarettes, they do contain nicotine. Nicotine easily crosses the placental barrier into the fetal circulation as well as into amniotic fluid.
Studies on smokeless sources of nicotine are ongoing but show different negative effects on pregnant women and babies than traditional cigarettes. Research indicates that nicotine has a negative effect on the developing brain and nervous system of the unborn baby. As a result, it is recommended that a pregnant woman avoid all sources of nicotine—including e-cigarettes—during pregnancy.
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, December 2018