Smoking during pregnancy can cause a number of health problems for both mother and child. It’s been linked to low birth weight, premature birth, and even stillbirth. If you want to give your baby the best start in life, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do.
Making the decision to quit smoking is never easy, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are many resources available to help you make this important change, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.
How Smoking Affects Both Mother and Baby
Smoking is bad for you, and that’s especially true when you’re pregnant. Smoking is the number one cause of problems during pregnancy for the mom-to-be and for the development of babies. Whether it’s lung cancer, heart disease, or stroke, smoking puts you and your baby at risk in a big way.
But unlike other health conditions that can make pregnancy difficult or risky, smoking is preventable. So if you’re smoking and pregnant, now is the time to quit for the sake of you and your baby.
Pregnant women who smoke are exposing their developing babies to thousands of dangerous chemicals. These toxins will travel through the mother’s bloodstream and make their way into the baby’s body. Some of these chemicals include ammonia, nicotine, carbon monoxide, and cyanide.
Nicotine and carbon monoxide are two of the most dangerous chemicals for a developing baby. They make it difficult for the baby to get the oxygen it needs, which can lead to problems such as stillbirth, low birth weight, and premature birth.
Smoking during pregnancy can lead to a number of health problems for both mother and child. These include ectopic pregnancy, placental abruption, and placenta previa – all of which can threaten the health of both mother and child. Additionally, smoking mothers are more likely to experience vaginal bleeding during pregnancy.
Babies born to smoking mothers are also smaller from the start. Sometimes they are smaller by as much as a half-pound to a pound when they would have been otherwise. This early stunting of growth can lead to long-term problems later in life.
Giving birth to a premature baby can result in a number of health complications, including underdeveloped organs. In particular, premature babies may have difficulty breathing and may require assistance from machines.
Additionally, premature babies are more likely to develop asthma and are at an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If the mother smoked during pregnancy, the baby is also more likely to have heart defects.
It can be devastating to find out that your baby has a learning disorder, low IQ, or behavior problem because you smoked during your pregnancy. But smoking during pregnancy can cause changes in brain development that lead to these complications.
Even if you find out you’re pregnant and are still smoking, you can reduce the risks of disease and complications by stopping as soon as possible. As soon as you stop, your baby will stop getting all of those toxins and will get more oxygen.
Making the Decision to Quit
It’s important to be mindful of the decisions you make when you are pregnant, and smoking is obviously detrimental to your baby. However, making the decision to quit smoking can be difficult. In fact, many women never make it.
But you have the ability to make this decision and be successful so that both you and your baby have a healthier future. It’s important to think about what this decision can mean for your pregnancy and for your child when making any decisions during your pregnancy.
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to quit, the next step is to figure out how you want to go about quitting. This will look different for everyone, but it’s important to have a plan in place to make quitting as easy as possible. There are a few different ways to quit smoking, so take some time to figure out which method will work best for you.
And remember, even though being pregnant doesn’t make it easier to stop smoking, it’s a great motivation to kick this habit for good and stick to your plan.
Going Cold Turkey
Many people try to quit smoking by quitting cold turkey. This method is simple, but it can be difficult. You may experience withdrawal symptoms, especially for the first three days. These could include anxiety, stress, and depression. The good news is that these symptoms will go away after a few weeks, and you’ll feel better.
This method of quitting smoking is cost-effective and safe for both you and your baby. While the cravings in the beginning may be tough to overcome, the motivation for a healthy pregnancy can help you be successful.
This method works best for people who smoke less than one pack a day. If you smoke more than that, you may need some assistance or to decrease your smoking gradually. However, even heavy smokers can give this method a try.
If you’re not ready to give up cigarettes entirely, you can try cutting back gradually until you no longer smoke at all. This method is safe for you, but it’s best to start as early in your pregnancy as possible.
If you’re still smoking after 14 weeks of pregnancy, you could be harming your baby. If you’re not yet 14 weeks pregnant, make sure you have a goal to be completely done smoking by then.
One method that works for some people when they’re trying to cut down on smoking is to separate each day’s worth of cigarettes into resealable bags. So, for example, on day one you’d have 20 cigarettes in the bag. On day two, you’d have 18. On day three, 16 cigarettes and so on.
Separating them out ahead of time like this can make it easier to stick to your decision and helps you be prepared. This method also usually helps minimize the withdrawal symptoms you might feel – though it’s honest to say that you might still feel some of them.
The last few days will be the hardest when you’ve only got one or two cigarettes left. But remembering your motivation – the baby – can help. Plus, it’s free!
Medical Assistance for Quitting
If you’re a heavy smoker, quitting cold turkey or gradually may not work for you because of withdrawal symptoms. If you smoke more than a pack a day, talk to your doctor about medical interventions to help you quit. This is important for your health and the health of your baby.
There are two primary choices for medical assistance when trying to quit smoking: nicotine replacement therapy and antidepressants. These are both methods that many smokers have found helpful. Even though they require you to put more chemicals into your body, they’re considered safer than smoking.
Nicotine replacement helps take the edge off of the withdrawal symptoms of quitting. You can either use a patch or chew gum that has this effect. While nicotine isn’t good for your baby, it’s still better than the accumulation of thousands of toxins from cigarette smoke.
It’s important to talk to your doctor about your use of nicotine, and to make sure that you’re not getting too much of it into your system. Using a patch for 16 hours is likely safer than using one designed for 24 hours, or using nicotine gum, which could cause you to consume more nicotine.
There is also evidence that antidepressants can be helpful in reducing withdrawal symptoms. However, it’s not currently known if this has any impact on the development of a fetus. As such, it’s important to discuss the potential side effects of this medication with your doctor before making any decisions.
When you use nicotine replacement therapy or medications to help you quit smoking during pregnancy, you need to have medical supervision. These methods aren’t free, and they can have side effects, but they may be better than continuing to smoke during pregnancy.
Alternative Medicine for Quitting Smoking
If you want to explore methods of quitting smoking that don’t involve taking more drugs, acupuncture may be a good option for you. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that uses tiny needles to improve energy flow and provide balance for the body. Studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective for reducing cravings and helping people stop smoking.
Acupuncture, when performed by a licensed professional, can be an effective way to improve energy and health without causing harm. In fact, many people find the experience pleasant.
Similarly, hypnosis is gaining popularity as a way to help reduce cigarette cravings. For this process, you’ll work with a licensed therapist. The therapist will work with you on a subconscious level to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and the desire to smoke.
Both of these therapies are safe for you and your baby. There is a fee associated with these therapies; however, some insurance companies cover these treatments. You will need to check with your insurance provider for more information on this assistance.
Counseling and Coaching
There are a lot of ways to get help to quit smoking. You can see a counselor, work with a coach, or join a support group. The American Cancer Society offers free counseling through their quit line. You can also find local support groups and smoking cessation classes.
Your doctor can help you find local resources to help you quit smoking. Just having someone to be accountable to who can give you support is often enough to get you through the difficult period of withdrawal.
Dealing with Cravings
Cravings are one of the hardest things to deal with when quitting smoking. Here are a few ways you can get through those moments and protect the health of your baby as well as your own health:
* Write down a list of reasons why you want to quit and keep it with you. You might want to include a sonogram photo of your baby.
* Chew on a straw, sugarless gum, or a coffee stirrer.
* Eat cinnamon candies – the cinnamon doesn’t taste good with smoke.
* Call a friend for support.
* Do something with your hands – like crocheting, knitting, or other hobbies.
* Drink a glass of water.
* Take a walk
* Eat some crunchy vegetables
* Play with Play-Doh or silly putty
* Change up your routine
* Get rid of cigarettes and other smoking paraphernalia
These are some tips to help you get through tough times and stick to your decision to quit smoking for the sake of your pregnancy. Keep in mind the moments that will be hardest for you and make a plan for how you’ll deal with them.
Remember, quitting smoking is essential for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. If you can stick to this one decision during your pregnancy, you’re giving your baby a head start on a lifetime of good health.
It’s never too late to quit smoking, and doing so will have an immediate positive impact on both your health and the health of your child. If you are pregnant, know that continuing to smoke increases the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) because of second-hand smoke.
Quitting smoking is hard, but it’s a decision that could save your pregnancy, the life of your child – and your own life too.