When a woman is pregnant, everything she puts in her body can affect the fetus. Just like what you eat is passed to the baby, smoking exposes your baby to chemicals like carbon monoxide and nicotine.
If you smoke, you should at least try and quit for the next months. However, we recommend quitting altogether. If you are not a smoker, but you’re pregnant, you should also avoid second-hand smoke. If you’re planning to get pregnant, but you smoke, you should also make a plan to quit while you’re ahead.
Some of the effects of smoking during pregnancy include::
- Congenital disabilities
- Preterm labor
- Low-birth weight babies
- Placenta previa and abruption placenta
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
The good news is that others have had to quit during pregnancy, and they have done it. If others did it, so can you! If you just found out you’re pregnant, and you’ve been smoking, we recommend quitting as soon as now.
It’s never too late to quit smoking. If you feel that you can’t stop yet, then try cutting down slowly and as much as you can. As a start, get rid of your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays. Clean your clothes and house and get rid of the smoke smell.
Discuss quitting with anyone who smokes around you. If they don’t intend to quit, consider asking them to not smoke around you. Avoid being in places where people smoke.
During the time you’re trying to quit smoking, plan how you’ll handle your cravings. Do your best to avoid things that urge you to reach for a cigarette. Change your routine, find ways you can cope like walking instead of having a cigarette.
In the first few weeks of quitting, your stress levels will be high. Find ways to cut down on the stress and make the experience much easier. Talk to your doc about medicines and nicotine replacement and whether they are suitable for you.
Ask people or loved ones around you who used to smoke for tips and support. We recommend getting counseling too. Pregnant women who use group, telephone, or one-on-one counseling are more likely to quit smoking. It also helps to join a support group for people who used to smoke.
Talk to your GP, midwife, health visitor, and pharmacist to help you find the nearest Stop Smoking Service. These services offer one-to-one group sessions, and they could have a pregnancy stop smoking specialist to help you out.