How To Quit Smoking While Pregnant
Congratulations! You're pregnant. So what now?
Like any other expecting mother, you would want the best for your child and since you are looking for information on how to quit smoking while pregnant, its safe to say that you're on the right track.
Of all smokers, the ones that have the most to lose are expecting mothers since you are now not only responsible for your own health but your unborn baby's health as well.
You may already be aware of the various risks involved but saying you want to quit is much easier than quitting itself. Knowing the dangers of smoking while pregnant might offer an extra push towards quitting.
So what are the dangers of smoking while pregnant?
The Dangers of Smoking While Pregnant
Throughout its various stages of development, your baby will be getting all of its nourishment from you. The food you eat, the water you drink and even the air you breathe will help foster your child's development into a healthy baby.
Clearly, this means that there isn't room for dangerous cigarette smoke and it's harmful chemical contents. Although these do not count as nutrients, these chemicals will still find their way to the fetus through the placenta. These chemicals can harm your baby and can sometimes be fatal.
Cigarette smoke contains lots of chemicals that are released through the burning of the tobacco and its many additives. The smoke contains tar which has over 4000 chemicals including 60 that are known to cause cancer. You might also be surprised to know that cigarette smoke contains chemicals such as:
- Methanol (wood alcohol)
- Acetylene (the fuel used in welding torches)
These dangers posed by these chemicals aren't only risky to the unborn child but they also pose a risk to the expecting mother as well.
Here are some of the dangers associated with smoking cigarettes while pregnant.
- Ectopic Pregnancy - This is where the pregnancy develops abnormally outside of the uterus. In most cases the egg develops in the Fallopian tubes and in other rare cases it may develop in an ovary, the cervix or the belly. Smoking mothers have a high risk of having ectopic pregnancies although there are other causes.
- Low Birth Weight - A baby born weighing less than 5 lb 8 ounces is considered low birthweight. Smoking doubles the risk of having a baby born with low birth weight which can lead to other problems such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation and in the worst case - death.
- Cleft Palate or Cleft Lip - This common birth defect affects 1 in 700 babies born in the United States each year. A cleft occurs when there is a split in the lip of the baby or a missing portion of the roof of the child's mouth (palate). This can affect how the baby looks but can be corrected with surgery.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) - also known as 'cot death' is commonly attributed to the use of cigarettes before the baby is born as well as after. SIDS is the unexplained sudden death of a newborn or infant under the age of 12 months.
- Stillbirth - Poor fetal growth can increase the risk of stillbirth (the baby dies before it can be delivered). Women who smoke cigarettes are usually at an increased risk of having a baby that grows too slowly.
- Premature Labor and Delivery - Smoking is among the list of reasons for preterm labor - when the baby is born before it is due.
Even if hopefully everything goes well, the effects of smoking during pregnancy can usually have long term effects on the developing child that can include asthma, learning disabilities and behavioral problems such as ADHD.
How To Quit Smoking While Pregnant
Now that you've weighed the risks of smoking while pregnant, I'm sure that you're ready to give up the habit. It's not easy - not for any smoker - but you do have plenty of options.
Important Disclaimer: The following isn't meant to be substituted for medical advice. Always consult a doctor or certified health care professional first regarding any medical or health condition.The articles here are only intended for information purposes only.
When choosing an option to quit smoking, you need an option that will be safe for you and your child while you try to overcome your habit.
Your first step is always to check with your doctor and let him know that you smoke and you would like to quit because of your situation.
Usually, during your prenatal visits, a 5 step method called "The 5 A's" is done to help you with your smoking cessation. This method has proven to be effective in at least 30% of pregnant women.
During these sessions the doctor or health care provider will as the name suggests, go through 5 different processes with you:
- Ask questions and document the tobacco user. Your vital signs like pulse rate, respiratory rate etc are recorded.
- Advise - You will be strongly advised to quit and assured that the doctor and his staff can help.
- Assess - Your willingness to quit will be assessed. If you are willing to quit you have a strong chance of success and its on to the next step.
- Assist - You will be given guidelines and a plan of action to follow so that you can start the process of quitting.
- Arrange - The doctor will arrange a follow up at intervals after your baby is born to see how you are progressing.
This method is usually very hard for smokers to do but the will power of an expecting mother can sometimes be so strong that many mothers who are determined to quit are usually successful.
If you're going to quit cold turkey, you're going to have to make up your mind to quit for good. Also your decision can be met with obstacles so be prepared for them.
Here are some tips that will help you to quit cold turkey.
- Tell your partner that you are going to quit smoking and ask for their support. After all its his child as well. Support means helping you with every step in your smoking cessation quest. If your partner smokes, this would also be a good time for him to quit smoking too.
- Get rid of all your cigarettes and if your partner smokes as well ask him to do the same.
- Exercise can be very beneficial to pregnant mothers who would like to quit smoking. Do this on a regular basis as it helps not only with your desire to quit smoking but also to control your weight, decrease the risk of complications, make labor fast and even speed up weight loss after you've delivered. Studies have shown that women who exercise during pregnancy are more likely to quit smoking.
- Diet - Maintaining a healthy diet will help foster the healthy development of your child and keep you from putting on the unwanted pounds due to pregnancy and also due to smoking cessation as well as counteract the damaging effects of smoking.
Watch the following video for some more general tips on how to quit smoking.
Quit Smoking for Good
It is a known fact that while most pregnant women would like to quit for the sake of their child, as soon as the baby is born they go right back to smoking.
There are also post-pregnancy dangers of smoking that I would like to save you. Nicotine present in breast milk and not to mention second hand smoke which may give way to asthma and developmental problems in a young child.
Deciding to quit for good is a wise decision. If you're a pregnant mother reading this, then please take this choice. It will also be beneficial to your health as well.
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