But a new study has shown that almost half of women who stop smoking during pregnancy take up the habit again soon after their baby is born.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham analysed data from 11 trials involving 571 women who tried to give up smoking to draw their conclusions.
They found that (43%) of the women who managed to stay off cigarettes during pregnancy went back to smoking within six months of giving birth.
The same researchers later analysed 23 trials with data concerning more than 9,000 women who had signed up to programmes aiming to help them quit smoking.
They found that 87% of pregnant women were still smoking when their babies were born.
"Most pregnant smokers do not achieve abstinence from smoking while they are pregnant, and among those that do, most will restart smoking within six months of childbirth," the study reads.
"This would suggest that despite large amounts of health-care expenditure on smoking cessation, few women and their offspring gain the maximum benefits of cessation."
Commenting on the findings, lead author Dr Matthew Jones said there is an urgent need to find better ways of helping mothers stay off cigarettes during pregnancy and after giving birth.
"Smoking during pregnancy is a major global public health issue: a conservative estimate for the annual economic burden in the UK is £23.5 million and in the US $110 million," he said in a statement.
"Our report reveals a wide gulf between what pregnant women need to quit smoking and what our healthcare services currently provide."
The review is published in full in the scientific journal Addiction.