Stopping smoking when pregnant

Stopping smoking when you become pregnant

From the moment you decide to have a baby, you may begin to wonder whether smoking is an option and whether you should give it up even before conception. Pregnancy can be a time of intense cravings and involves many life changes for the mother. One of which is smoking.

In this blog, we look at why it’s strongly advised to stop smoking when you become pregnant and even discuss why you should consider stopping in the run-up to conception.

If you’re a regular smoker or even a social smoker it can be hard to stop smoking, but there’s no greater motivation than having a baby. In this blog, we discuss the harm it can do, and offer some advice to stop.

Why you should stop smoking during pregnancy

As a smoker, you inhale over 4,000 different chemicals into your body with each breath. Those chemicals are then transferred to your unborn baby. Every time you smoke, you reduce the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, making it more difficult for your baby to pump oxygenated blood around their own body. So as a result of this, your heart rate and blood pressure increases and so your baby’s heart beats faster too.

Also, your baby is being exposed to nicotine and if you smoke during your pregnancy, your baby will likely experience nicotine withdrawal once they’re born.

When you stop smoking you reduce the risk of a whole range of issues and risks including stillbirth, sudden infant death syndrome (cot death) and premature birth. You’ll also be less likely to have a baby that is smaller and are more likely to have fewer complications during labour.

You will be improving the health of both you and your baby.

Can I vape while pregnant?

Whilst there are many ways that you can get help to stop smoking, vaping or e-cigarettes aren’t one of them. There’s still a lot to learn about the impacts of vaping but what we do know is that they contain nicotine and some of the potentially harmful chemicals found in cigarettes.

Nicotine is harmful to the brain of a developing baby as well as other organs so stopping all forms of smoking during pregnancy is strongly advised.

How can I stop smoking when pregnant

There’s so much support out there now that it’s a lot easier to stop smoking than it’s ever been. There’s no denying that if you’re a heavy smoker it could be a challenge but women up and down the country do it when they become pregnant.

The best way to stop is to just stop – and that might sound patronising but many women stop smoking simply by waiting 3 minutes. After just 3 minutes the urge to stop smoking can wane and you won’t want a cigarette.

Other options are to take nicotine replacement therapy NRT. Speak to your midwife as you can be prescribed a range of NRT options including:

  • Patches
  • Gum
  • Nasal and mouth sprays
  • Oral strips
  • Microtabs and lozenges.

By speaking with a Midwife, a specialist stop smoking advisor, your GP or a Pharmacist, you can be sure that you are using the products correctly and safely.

If you’re struggling to stop smoking it’s always advised that you speak to your midwife who will always be there to help.

Remember, you are twice as likely to successfully quit if you seek support from a trained advisor.

What about secondhand smoke, can this harm my baby?

If your partner or anyone else that you live with smokes, yes, their passive smoking can affect both you and your baby during pregnancy and after your baby is born. The risks remain the same as if you were to smoke.

The stop smoking services can also be accessed by your partner or family members too.


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