Preconception is the period of time when you prepare to start trying for a baby. In medical circles there is a growing recognition that maternal health before conception, not only during pregnancy, can have a major effect on the development and prospects of the unborn child. The best-known example of this is the now widely known development in spina bifida prevention. We now know that a small amount of the B-vitamin folic acid can reduce neural tube defects by up to 70%. This clinches the case for pre-conception health having a direct impact on the unborn child. But what about smoking? In this article we take a look at the benefits of quitting smoking before pregnancy. We also examine the potential damage it can do, some aspects of which you may not be aware.