Smoking During Pregnancy

It’s never too late to stop smoking. Quitting smoking won’t be easy, but it is now more important than ever before. Each cigarette contains 4000 chemicals, 60 cancer-causing compounds, and can restrict the oxygen supply to your developing baby. Stopping smoking will be immediately beneficial to both you and your unborn child.

Each time you smoke a cigarette, your baby’s oxygen supply is reduced meaning your baby’s heart has to work much harder than it should.

How will smoking affect my baby?
There are a number of risks associated with smoking during pregnancy, including an increased risk of:

  • bleeding
  • placental abruption
  • premature birth – smoking doubles the risk of premature birth
  • low birth weight – smoking doubles the chance that your baby will weigh less than 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) at birth
  • stillbirth
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – the risk of SIDS doubles if you smoke during pregnancy
  • developing asthma
  • developing a heart defect
  • behavioural problems
  • learning disabilities

How to quit
There are a number of methods in place to help you quit smoking during pregnancy, and you need to find the one which works for you. Hypnosis, financial rewards, and patches are just a few ways that other people have found successful.

  • believe in yourself – confidence goes a long way where willpower is involved, so you need to believe you can quit
  • if your partner smokes, ask him to quit with you
  • ask your friends and family not to smoke around you
  • change your routine – if you always smoke during a certain activity, try to change your routine to bypass cravings
  • light exercise – exercise is a great way to beat cravings and make the most of your recovering health. You should notice week by week that your breathing capacity and stamina are improving
  • build a support group – friends and family who want to help you quit, especially if they are ex-smokers themselves, will be great people to talk to during cravings
  • tell your healthcare provider  – your healthcare provider will be able to help and advise you how to best stop smoking. Your healthcare provider won’t judge you. They just want to assist you, so don’t worry about asking for help
  • remember your motivation – whether that means carrying a scan photo to focus on during cravings, or a factsheet of the dangers for your baby, make sure you remember why you are doing this

Cigarette cravings
If you’re giving up cigarettes, you’re probably going to experience some strong cravings. Each craving only lasts for up to five minutes, so instead of reaching for the cigarettes, find another distraction to see you through. Lollipops, chewing gum, and ringing a friend, are just a few ideas to help you fight the cravings.

What if I relapse?
If you relapse, quit again. Relapsing isn’t failure, just try again and learn from your mistakes. Now you’ve identified a weak spot (did you relapse because of stress or habit, for example?), you can avoid it happening next time. Don’t give up on giving up.

Do you have any advice to women who want to give up smoking during pregnancy?

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.