If you’re an avid smoker you’re probably wondering if being pregnant means you should wave your smoking habits goodbye. Unfortunately, even if your health isn’t enough for you to stop, your baby’s health should be.
What can happen to my baby if I keep smoking?
Smoking during your pregnancy is harmful to your unborn baby. The chemicals in cigarettes are both damaging to you and your baby; nicotine and other harmful poisons increase the risk of health problems for unborn babies.
Second hand smoke, vaping and e-cigarettes are all still damaging to your baby’s health and should also be avoided (or quitted). You may need to designate your house a non-smoking area, and ask any friends and colleges not to smoke around you.
So what exactly does smoking do to your unborn baby? Smoking lowers the amount of oxygen available to your growing baby and nicotine damages the baby’s brain and lungs. Smoking can make it harder to conceive, and if you do fall pregnant, can lead to miscarriages or stillbirth. Babies can be born premature, have a low birth weight, or be born with birth defects.
Smoking during pregnancy can also affect your baby’s health after they are born, leading to cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, asthma and other respiratory problems and infections.
Help – I am really struggling to quit!
Even if you have decided that quitting is in both of your best interests, this may be easier said than done. If you are pregnant already it is best to quit without using any medication, as this is healthier for you and your baby.
You also won’t be able to transition to vaping or e-cigarettes, as these too, are harmful and usually contain nicotine, which is damaging to health.
In order to quit for good, try avoid the triggers that make you want to smoke, and try find something else that you can do when the craving kicks in. Get the support of your family and friends, or join a stop-smoking group or self help plan. Whatever your plan is to stop, you can be sure that both you and your child’s health will benefit from it.