Quitting smoking is essential for pregnancy
Smoking both before and during pregnancy poses many risks to your baby.
Here are some tips to help you deal with quitting:
- Understand the threat - Smoking during pregnancy can cause health problems with both baby and mom. Smoking causes cancer, there is no way around that, but the effect on baby is beyond that. The baby's growth can be impaired, there is an increase in the chance of ectopic pregnancy and there can be complications with the placenta that can lead to fetal death.
- Taking your time - The gradual process of stopping smoking during pregnancy is not one that will be the most effective. The gradual process could take the entire pregnancy to complete. In order to secure the health of baby, the gradual stop smoking plan needs to be complete by the 14th week of pregnancy.
- Stop right now - Cold turkey is the method of choice for many pregnant women. Cold turkey refers to stopping the habit of smoking immediately. There is no weaning off of the cigarettes, just packs in the trash and a promise not to smoke. Some people are very successful with this method. Others find the addiction to the chemicals in cigarettes too strong for the cold turkey method.
- The nicotine patch - Many smokers choose the nicotine patch as their method of quitting smoking. Nicotine is one of the most addictive chemicals in cigarette smoke and the theory is, if the smoker does not feel the need for nicotine, they will not smoke. While there are very few studies on the effect of nicotine on the fetus, the switch from cigarettes complete with smoke in the lungs and a laundry list of chemicals to nicotine alone is a step in the right direction.
- The anti-depressant and smoking - Zyban is an anti-smoking medication. What many people do not know is that Zyban is Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin is an anti-depressant used as a weight-loss drug and an anti-smoking drug. While Zyban is considered one of the safer anti-depressants to take while pregnant, there are better options to quit smoking.
- Seeking personal help - There are counselors and medical personnel who are happy to talk through the process of stopping smoking with a pregnant woman. These counselors often work in the same way as an AA counselor and will take calls at any time of the day or night.
- Remove smoke from the home - If there are other smokers in the home, stopping smoking is only going to have a small effect. Second-hand smoke will increase mom's need to smoke and decrease the health of a baby in an almost parallel pattern as first-hand smoke.
- Know what works for the long term - There have been research studies on quitting smoking and pregnancy. One study reported that women who were given counseling during the pregnancy to stop smoking remained smoke-free after the birth of their baby in many cases. The other side of the study included women who received the same counseling but also used nicotine patches. These women were more likely to start smoking again after the baby was born.
- Talk to your Ob-Gyn - There are increased risks to the pregnancy when women smoke. Letting your Ob-Gyn doctor know that you smoke (and not hide it) will help the doctor watch you closely and do the right tests.
- Replace the need - There are plenty of things to do while pregnant instead of smoking. The trouble is finding one that will effectively turn the mind away from the need to smoke. Group activities with other pregnant mothers who do not smoke are a perfect choice.
- Just do it - Without a doubt, the best advice is to just stop smoking during pregnancy no matter how hard it may seem. Sure, the addiction is tough, but the health of the baby is so worth the pain.
- Make Him Stop Too - No matter how hard you try, if he continues to smoke then it's difficult to stop. The two of you are in together, so get him involved too.