Everyone knows nicotine is one of the hardest addictions to give up, but trying to conceive or being pregnant are the ultimate reason to ditch the cigarette. We show you how.
You’ve probably been told by the world and his wife that you should quit smoking while you’re pregnant – but that’s easier said than done. However if you’re ever going to give it a real stab, now is the time. You have a tiny baby to consider now – there’s never been a more important reason.
Why quitting is so important
The health risks of smoking are well known. Now you’re going to be a mum, you’ll want to make sure you’ll be healthy and able to enjoy every precious moment with your baby.
It’s tempting to just cut down, but smoking less cigarettes than normal in pregnancy won’t make a huge difference. Even one or two cigarettes a day can increase the risk of premature birth, stillbirth and other complications. Cutting down can cause you to inhale more deeply and smoke the entire cigarette – whereas before you may have stubbed it out before reaching the end.
‘This means that the same amount of chemicals will be entering your body and crossing the placenta to your baby, says midwife Cathy Ashwin.
Cut cigs out completely and save the money you spend on cigarettes for baby products and treats for yourself.
Giving up when you’re trying to conceive
It’s a great idea to stop smoking before you try to get pregnant as lighting up can cause a whole host of problems including infertility and difficulty conceiving.
Start by throwing away everything to do with smoking – your ciggies, ashtray and lighters – and clean your house of ash and smoke smells to leave it as a ‘smoke free’ home. Fighting through your withdrawal symptoms will be tough, but your cravings, irritability and hunger pangs will vanish in less than two weeks – stay strong and think of your end goal!
There are loads of smoking substitutes available to help you kick the habit. Patches and e-cigarettes are two options, which will help replace the need and action of smoking.
Now you’re going to be a mum, you’ll want to make sure you’ll be healthy and able to enjoy every precious moment with your baby.
Giving up during pregnancy
You’re pregnant. So, even if you still have cravings, now is the time to make sure you kick the habit. Smoking can increase the chances of you miscarrying, having an ectopic pregnancy or a stillbirth, giving you three very good reasons to quit. It can also make your pregnancy harder – you’re more likely to develop thrush, urinary infections and sickness.
Your baby is also more likely to get a whole range of illnesses. Smoking increases the chance of cot death, learning difficulties, infections, cleft palate, limb abnormalities and breathing problems. Plus, your baby may be born up to 7oz lighter than a baby born to a non-smoker.
Use pregnancy as a great reason to change your routine – especially parts of your day you associate with having a cigarette. Keep busy, especially in the first two weeks of quitting. Make plans with friends (preferably non-smoking ones), go shopping for your baby, or decorate the nursery.Many people say smoking helps them relax, so find an alternative way to chill out. Try having a hot bath with music or a movie night. If you find that your cravings are unbearable, do some light exercise – swimming and yoga are brilliant pregnancy options.
Staying strong after pregnancy
If you managed to quit smoking during your pregnancy, try to keep up the great work. Smoke round your baby is really not good for his tiny, and still developing, lungs and may weaken his immune system, making him more prone to scary diseases such as meningitis and blood poisoning.
If you continue your smoking ban, you’ll feel fitter, healthier and less tired – which is really helpful when looking after your baby. He’ll need attention at all hours of the day so the fitter and healthier you feel, the better.