Pregnancy and Smoking Cessation: 5 Things You Should Know

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in pregnancy, quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Studies show that at least 10 percent of pregnant women in the US smoke. Cigarette smoking during pregnancy has plenty of negative side effects not just on the mother but to her baby. Quitting smoking before planning to conceive is necessary to avoid the possible health risks.

Whether you are pregnant or trying to conceive, quitting smoking today is very important. Here are important things you should know about pregnancy and smoking cessation:


 1.  Smoking during pregnancy does have major health effects.

Women who smoke during pregnancy are at risk of pre-term labor and other complications. They are also at risk of delivering babies who have abnormalities, mental disorders or retardation, and other serious problems. Furthermore, they may also give birth to children who are at high risk of developing mental illness or disability later in life. Smoking during pregnancy is the biggest known risk factor of SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It is also linked to many other health problems affecting children including ADHD, cerebral palsy, and learning problems.

2. Not all smoking cessation methods are applicable for pregnant women.


Pregnancy is a very critical stage for women. Anything they do, eat and take can have a direct impact to their baby. This is why for smoking moms, great care and attention are necessary when helping them quit. Most smoking cessation drugs such as Chantix and Zyban are not good for pregnant women as they may have potential side effects to the baby. Usually, they are encouraged to take a non-medical approach such as counseling (psychotherapy).

 3.  Online support is effective.

Some pregnant women do have physical and mental issues during pregnancy that hinder them from going out and seeing a medical professional. An online smoking cessation program is best for moms who have such issues, or those who do not have time to meet with the doctor face to face. Most online support programs are accessible 24/7. They also have tools, digital journal, forums and lots of resources necessary for pregnant women who are struggling with quitting smoking.

 4.  Withdrawal might be more difficult.

Being pregnant is mentally distressing for some women. They tend to feel more irritable, anxious and disoriented due to the hormonal imbalances and other factors. Existing problems such as these can intensify the withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking. So it is always advisable for pregnant women trying to quit to seek professional help. Quitting alone is unlikely to make things easier.

 5.  Support groups help.

As mentioned, some smoking cessation programs are not advisable for women who are pregnant. Before trying any of these methods, get professional advice. There are plenty of treatments that are designed for pregnant women. You can also learn some techniques to suppress nicotine craving, which will not harm your body and your baby’s health. These include maternal exercise, breathing techniques, and some mind-empowering tricks.



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