Congratulations! You've just found out you're pregnant. But you're a smoker and now you're wondering how to quit--fast. Believe it or not, it can be done. About forty percent of pregnant smokers do stop --a rate much higher than any other group.
Risks of smoking during pregnancy include premature birth, stillbirth, low birth weight, and undeveloped lungs. Long term risks include asthma, allergies, not meeting developmental milestones, and learning disorders. In addition, the rate of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is much higher. Here's how to quit smoking during pregnancy.
- Talk to your care provider. They may be able to recommend a safe patch or a nicotine replacement option. They may also be able to recommend a counselor or a stop smoking program. Don't be embarrassed to tell your care provider you're smoking-it's important for you and your baby's health that they know. And to be honest, they probably already know you're a smoker and will appreciate the honesty.
- Plan ahead for cravings. Some people chew gum, others grab a quick and healthy snack. Some take deep breaths, try meditation or positive affirmations like "I will not smoke for my baby" or "I do not need to smoke." On the plus side, as strong as a cigarette craving may be, it usually only lasts for a few minutes.
- Cold turkey or gradual? It seems like there's no best way to quit smoking. Some experts swear that cold turkey is the best. Sure, you go through withdrawals, but you've eliminated nicotine from your daily routine and eliminated it from your baby's daily routine. But other experts say you'll have a better chance at quitting altogether if you gradually wean yourself.
- Ask other smokers not to smoke around you. Not only will your baby receive the effects of the secondhand smoke, but you will feel a stronger urge to smoke if you're around other smokers. Make your house a non-smoking building and ask your co-workers, friends and family members not to light up around you.
- Talk to friends and family members who have quit. Ask them what worked for them, and tips on how they quit. Check out web boards and chat groups for moms who quit smoking while pregnant; they have great advice to offer.
- Don't give up. Forgive yourself and resolve to move on if you smoke a cigarette or two. Don't give up if you have a couple of relapses.
- Remember who you're doing it for. You quit smoking so your baby will be healthy. Put up pictures of healthy babies in your cubicle or on your fridge. Hang your ultrasound pictures where you can see them everyday.
Now you know how to quit smoking while you're pregnant. Mixed with a little determination, these tips should help you achieve your goal.