Giving Up Smoking When Pregnant
Giving up smoking is challenging, but not impossible and now that you’re pregnant, quitting has never been more important.
Giving up smoking when pregnant
Quitting cigarettes is tough, but the more you know about your options and the benefits of stopping smoking, the easier the process will be. We’ve all heard the statistic that one in every two smokers will die of a tobacco-related disease. Did you know that within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your circulation will improve and your heart rate and blood pressure will get lower? This reduces your risk of heart disease straight away. Within eight hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood will drop and the oxygen level will go up. However, your pregnancy can also be a strong motivation to give up smoking, because you’re making this choice on behalf of your unborn child who is completely dependent on you.
Read Next: Smoking During Pregnancy
Why is it harmful to smoke during pregnancy?
A baby in the womb gets everything from its mother. Nutrients and oxygen come via the placenta and umbilical cord. Smoking not only exposes the fetus to toxins in tobacco smoke, but it also damages placental function. When a person smokes, some of the oxygen in their blood is replaced by carbon monoxide. If a pregnant woman smokes, her blood and therefore her child’s blood will contain less oxygen than normal. This can cause the fetal heart rate to rise as the baby struggles to get enough oxygen. The particles in tobacco smoke contain different toxic substances that change the blood’s ability to work in a healthy and normal manner. This can affect the placenta that feeds the baby.
Smoking increases your risk of having:
- premature labour
- a baby with a low birth weight
- a baby who is stillborn
Isn’t it too late if I’m already pregnant?
Giving up smoking at any stage in your pregnancy is good for you and your baby – it’s never too late. As soon as you stop, the chemicals will start to clear from your body and your baby will get more oxygen. So give yourself and your baby a head start by giving up for good. Even if you haven’t managed to stop smoking in the past, you can do it this time. Up to 40% of all pregnant women who smoke have successfully quit.
Read Next: A Healthy Baby Starts With A Healthy Mom
Should I tell my midwife?
Tell your midwife or doctor if you’re still a smoker at your next appointment. Honesty is the best policy for you and your baby. Your midwife or doctor are there to help you, not judge you. You certainly won’t be the first mum-to-be they’ve seen who’s struggling to quit. Whatever your approach to stopping smoking is, your midwife or GP can help you. They will have information about local support programmes, as well as words of encouragement for you.
Visit www.quit.ie. There is a lot of information there, and an online quit plan that you can sign up to. It will assess your smoking habits, give advice on how to quit, and send you emails and tips to get you through the first few weeks.
You can also sign up for a QUIT smoking course with an HSE QUIT clinic.
The following hospitals – NMH, The Rotunda, The Coombe, Cork University Maternity Hospital and The Midland Regional Hospital at Portlaoise are tobacco-free hospitals. This means that nobody is permitted to smoke anywhere on these campuses including E cigarettes.
Read Next: Nutrition During Pregnancy, Plus Foods To Avoid
Benefits of quitting smoking
- Straight away: You will have fresher breath, hair and clothes – smoking is smelly. You will have more money in your pocket.
- Within 20 mins: Your blood pressure and pulse rates begin to return to normal.
- Within 1 day: Your risk of heart attack begins to fall.
- Within 2 days: You will have a better sense of taste and smell.
- Within 3 days: You will feel fitter as you will be less breathless.
- After 1 year: Your risk of sudden death from a heart attack is almost cut in half. Your risk from cancer is also reduced.
If you would like to stop smoking contact your GP or the National Smokers’ Quitline 1850 201 203.
Did you manage to stop smoking when you were pregnant? Tell us about it in the comments below.