It is a trying experience for habitual women smokers to quit smoking.  It is that much more difficult to quit when pregnant to prevent any complications to the baby due to the harmful effects of smoking. When giving up on the addiction, one can expect sudden urges and cravings that are unstoppable. Despite the strong urges that you feel, you must be stronger than your temptations if you wish to have a healthy baby .

Why are cigarettes bad?

Cigarette smoke contains a compound called nicotine which deprives oxygen and nutrients necessary for the baby to grow. The reduced amount of oxygen to the baby can lead to serious complications like―

  • Low birth weight baby
  • Underdeveloped organs
  • Lungs are underdeveloped, babies need a respirator for survival in the initial stages, they may develop serious breathing problems like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or may even lead to asthma in later life.
  • Smoking in pregnancy may affect the brain’s growth affect their development. In later life, they may have low IQ, learning disabilities.
  • They could have heart defects due to low oxygensmoke

Must I stop smoking completely?

The threat is real. Just like alcohol, there is no ‘safe amount’ as regards smoking as well. It needs to be stopped as soon as you know that you are expecting to be a mother soon.

Remember ― your baby smokes along with you.

If yo uhave been wondering how to quit smoking, here are 8 steps to quit the habit, the sooner the better benefits for the mother and baby :

Step 1

Accept the problem. A new mother should understand the bad effects smoking can have on you and the unborn baby and try and prepare herself mentally to quit.

Step 2

Stop by the 14th week of pregnancy.  Try and find methods to quit as early as possible or by latest by the 14th week. Try and follow the “cold turkey” method ― pick the packet and throw it away in the bin. This method works for many women, while for some the addiction is too strong for this method.

Step 3

It’s a patch problem. Nicotine is the chemical compound in cigarettes and the theory is that if the smoker doesn’t feel the craving for nicotine, she won’t smoke. For many, nicotine patches help in quitting smoking. Nicotine Patches have emerged as an alternative to cigarette smoking.patches

Step 4

Use a counsel. Just like AA, there are many licensed counsellors who can help out with your habit and use positive reinforcement methods to get through with stopping your smoking.

Step 5

Release the smoke from your home. Even if you do not smoke, but someone in your family living with you does, it can still be equally harmful to the baby. Studies have shown that passive smoking can lead to bad effects on the fetus almost as similar to an active smoker. Make them Quit smoking or move residences. It’s worth it.

Step 6

Quit it for once and all. Many women having known the side effects of smoking tend to give up on the habit forever after counselling. Despite knowing, several women resume the habit once the baby is born. Talk to your OB-GYN about when can you begin smoking after delivery, to avoid any harm to the baby’s growth.

Step 7

Find a substitute. The sudden craving can have a bad impact on the mind, so engage in some group activities to avoid being fidgety and take your mind away about taking that puff in that moment of weakness. Nicotine Patches help.

Step 8

Do it together.  If your husband is a smoker too, make him quit by going to counselling sessions together and taking part as a couple. Your relationship gets stronger and it helps to bond with the baby even more.

Smoking anyway is not good for anyone, whether it’s a pregnant lady or not! Quit smoking and stop others from passive smoking!

For would be mummies, if you need to talk to someone anonymous, here is the helpline number for National Tobacco Cessation Quit Line : 1800-22-77-87.

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Visit Gynecologist,MBBS, MD Obstetrics & Gynaecology, MRCOG,13 years experience

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