Pregnancy and Smoking: 10 Tips to Help You Quit

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Since most pregnancies are unplanned, women at the child-bearing age are strongly discouraged from smoking. Whether you are pregnant or is just planning to have a baby, you must stop smoking now. This unhealthy habit won’t only affect your health but also the health of your child.

Why is smoking harmful during pregnancy?

Smoking is a deadly habit and its effects are more dangerous when you are pregnant. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of toxic chemicals, over 200 of which are cancerous. When you smoke, all these toxins travel all through your bloodstream into the blood of your developing baby. Smoking greatly increases the likelihood of complications, miscarriage and premature labor. Not only that. It also increases the risk of the baby being born underweight and suffering from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

A growing body of research also suggests that the effects of smoking on the child’s health may still be experienced even during adulthood. Children whose moms had smoked during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing heart disease and poor immunity, as well as depression, learning problems and other mental disorders. Smoking during pregnancy is also linked to the child’s risk of mental retardation.


When should a pregnant mom stop smoking?



Whenever possible, quitting smoking should be done before conception. If you quit before you get pregnant, much better. But if you are still smoking, quit now.

Nonetheless, quitting smoking today is easier said than done, especially if you have been smoking for a long time now. So here are some tips to quit smoking during pregnancy:

1) Think of your baby’s future. Surely, as a mom, you don’t want anything bad to happen to your child. All you want is for him or her to grow healthy, smart and happy. You can give your child a healthier future if you stop smoking now.

2) Think of other reasons to quit. Write down other reasons for quitting smoking. Quitting the habit could help you save money, make you less prone to anxiety issues, give you more energy, and lengthen your life.

3) Set a quit date. While cutting down gradually can help ease the pain of quitting, it isn’t advisable for pregnant women. You want to stop right away.

4) Inform everybody that you’re quitting. Friends and family can give you support in your journey to a smoke-free life.

5) Be positive. The withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking, along with the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, can leave you feeling anxious, low and somehow depressed. But always remember you are doing this for yourself and for your baby. Just stay optimistic. Everything will be alright.

6) Don’t despair if you fail. Try again. As the cliché says – try and try until you succeed. Quitting smoking is a trial and error thing. What is important is that you learn something after every failed attempt.

7) Know your triggers. By knowing the things, foods, emotions and situations that increase your craving for cigarettes, you can do something to avoid them and prevent yourself from smoking.

8) Talk to your doctor. If you think you can’t do it alone, seeking help from a professional doctor would help. He or she can provide you with safer ways to quit smoking today.

9) Avoid taking medicines. Most quit smoking medications are not allowed for pregnant women.

10) Start making positive lifestyle changes. By striving to live a healthy life, you can speed up the recovery of your body from the damaging effects of smoking. Living healthy also reduces your urge to smoke.


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