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:

  • Cyanide
  • Benzene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Methanol (wood alcohol)
  • Acetylene (the fuel used in welding torches)
  • Ammonia

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.

Baby with cleft lip at 5 months.
Baby with cleft lip at 5 months.
  • 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:

  1. Ask questions and document the tobacco user. Your vital signs like pulse rate, respiratory rate etc are recorded. 
  2. Advise - You will be strongly advised to quit and assured that the doctor and his staff can help. 
  3. 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. 
  4. Assist - You will be given guidelines and a plan of action to follow so that you can start the process of quitting. 
  5. Arrange - The doctor will arrange a follow up at intervals after your baby is born to see how you are progressing. 

Cold Turkey

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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Comments 16 comments

dinkan53 profile image

dinkan53 6 years ago from India

nice work and great message to all who are regular smokers."QUIT"


Angela 6 years ago

One way to quit smoking is to use Bravo product. The Bravo product helps women to quit smoking while pregnant. It allows the smoker to indulge the habit without exposure to the damaging side effects.

Read my article about pregnant woman quit smoking using Bravo product here:

http://fromwomb2birth.blogspot.com/2010/06/easier-...


Adinsa 6 years ago

Hi, my friend said she was going to keep smoking during her pregnancy so she could have a smaller baby and not gain a bunch of weight. She's been a friend a long time and I've always thought of her as intelligent. Actually, I have an informational site about quitting smoking during pregnancy because of the trouble my neighbor friend had quitting and when you know the dangers you might want to distribute the info so that no other woman would repeat the same mistake. She is a long time friend and its difficult to tell her in no uncertain terms without destroying our friendship. Please advice.


PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 6 years ago

Perhaps just considering the harmful effects of smoking to the baby in the womb is already enough for pregnant moms to quit smoking...Unless the mom has no heart.


Adinsa 6 years ago

Hi Papernotes,

I am totally agree with you. That is why in my latest blog post I put up three 'Smoking Harms Unborn Babies Videos' not to fear or threaten mothers but more towards giving them strength to quit smoking. To smoking mothers, please watch them and give a second thought on what you are doing right now.


rachel 5 years ago

smoking is very dangerous but its not something you can just switch off doing, it takes time and effort, although yeah having a baby inside you will give you the kick to stop but the cravings get so hard and you as a mother to be get distressed.


Renee 5 years ago

Smoking while pregnant does not mean "you have no heart". Smoking is an addiction, stopping something you are addicted to is not as easy as just saying "ok I'm going to stop today". Sure some people may be able to do that but realistically most are not. If it were that easy to quit tobacco companies would not be able to sell their cigarettes for up to $7.50 a pack, companies selling smoking cessation products would not be selling their products for $50-$200 a box..

Anyone who thinks its easy to just say "I'm not going to smoke anymore" and stop that day has obviously never been addicted to cigarettes.


Draygon 5 years ago

Hi, I would just like to say that it is no joke the risks that smoking can have on your unborn baby. The doctors do not tell us these to scare us. They are real! I say this because I know from experience. I am sitting in a hospital bed right now, 19 weeks pregnant and and having placental problems. If you are unsure about what that is please check out the tab on "Stillbirth-Poor Fetal Growth. Basically the placenta is seperated from the uterine wall making you bleed A lot, lose parts of the placenta and eventually lose your baby. Oh yeah and if that isn't enough, you can bleed to death. I didn't think it was so serious, but the hospital gave me a day pass because I had stopped bleeding after being in here for three days with no smoking. While I was out I had only three smokes, thinking it would be fine and now I am losing blood and placenta again, all because I thought I would be okay. I will not make that mistake again. No more smoking for me. And to the girl whos friend thinks that smoking to keep her and her baby skinny is okay. Your friend is stupid and immature and obvious is too self-absorbed to be having a baby. Wanting your baby to skinny is silly, babies are meant to be chubby and healthy. Not skinny and low weight.


hameidinger profile image

hameidinger 5 years ago

Smoking While Pregnant - This is bad hobbit, thanks for sharing.


tamz 5 years ago

omg its so hard to quit but


momma kat 4 years ago

I have tried to quit smoking and did so for almost two weeks. The problem is that I went throra very traumatic ordeal when my baby's father out of the blue attacked me and I am now working two jobs and going to school to try to support myself and my 2 other children. The stress was way too much to handle so unfortunately I began smoking again and feel so much calmer and in control. I really want to do what's right for my baby yet its so hard especially since I've already lost a baby due to stress. Please help me with some suggestions.


Jackie 4 years ago

Unfortunately I smoked with my first child, and he was born addicted to cigarettes. He cried all the time until he was no longer having withdrawls. He was a week late, but his lungs were under developed. It broke my heart to know that I did this to my child. Thankfully he is a happy and healthy 5 year old now, but I am pregnant again......even knowing what it did the first time around, it is so hard to quit cold turkey, but I'm going to do what I need to do to make sure I have a safe and healthy pregnancy. To the person who called smoking mothers heartless, that is not true at all. You just apparently don't know what an addiction is and how hard it is to quit.


AlexandraL. 4 years ago

I am 9 weeks pregnant, 21 years old and Ive been smoking since i was about 13.. this is obviously my first child. i have never quit smoking before this and i am trying really hard but i feel like its not going anywhere.. this is sooo hard to do !!!! and im pregnant so i cant use the patch, gum, lozengers, anything.. im kinda thinking about getting the electric cig. if i can find one with no nicotine in it. But i am so scared of having miscarraige or still birth or even SIDS. i am just sooooo scared its not even funny, i don't know what to do. well i know I NEED TO QUIT, BUT ITS SOOO HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Dani 4 years ago

AlexandraL

I smoked when i as pregnant with my first baby when i was 20 and i tried to quit smoking it was hard but i went from a half a pack down to 3 cigarettes a day and even though i cut down my son was born 6 weeks early and weighed only 4lbs 9oz and he is a healthy 19month old and now im 22 and 6 weeks pregnant with my second and trying to quit for good because i don't want this baby to be born early. Talk to your doctor and ask her for advice that's what im doing at my next doctor appointment


Kristen 4 years ago

Angela.

I Looked up the link you posted about The Bravo Product.

And I am very intereasted.

But I am having a very hard time finding a link or page on how to get/buy the product?


sarah kellaway 4 years ago

i would like to say this is a load of pants. im a smoker and has been for ten years now. my daughter was born with a cleft lip and palate and i have done a hell of a lot of research about why it happens it is nothing to do with smoking at all so u are giving a false sense of security with this page! cleft lip and palate is cause by a slow devepment in the womb which causes the lip and palate to not fuse together as they should. i think people should stop taking notice of this page as it should be shut down for lying! PREGNANT LADIES PLEASE GO TO YOUR DOCTOR. THAT IS MORE AFFECTIVE THAN READING UP ONLINE AS UR PULLED INTO LIES! i am pregnant for my third child and im now lookin at give up smoking which i will as it costs 2 much with 2 toddlers and a baby!

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