Smoking during pregnancy – why you should quit right now!

Effects of smoking during pregnancy

You’re pregnant and it’s never a better time to quit smoking than now.

Side effects of smoking during pregnancy

You’ve probably considered quitting and you know that smoking is bad for you. But the bad news is that it’s especially bad for your baby too. In fact you’re probably unaware about how bad it is for your baby.

Here’s what you’re risking your pregnancy to if you continue smoking -

  • a miscarriage
  • a premature labour
  • pregnancy complications, including problems with the placenta.
  • a baby who is stillborn
  • a baby with a low birth weight

Even if you give birth without any visible complications, smoking while you were pregnant could potentially cause issues for your baby as she grows. She will likely have a higher percentage of -

  • wheezing/coughs
  • hyperactivity and attention deficit disorders
  • behavioural issues

What’s worse is that smoking has also been associated with increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). And this risk goes up to 40%. Hence, it is really quite important for you to quit now.

Tips on quitting smoking during pregnancy

There is no one size fits all when it comes to quitting smoking during pregnancy. Try going cold turkey, or try to cut down gradually - whatever works for you.

If you feel that neither is going to work for you, you can try to use withdrawal tools like patches, tobacco chewing gum or lozenges. Experts are divided about how these substitutes affect your unborn child. But they may just be safer than smoking. However, you should work fast on giving these up as well.

Also, it is best to avoid second hand smoke, even if you don’t actually smoke or you’re trying to cut down. Additionally, avoid places and/or activities that associate smoking for you. For instance, if you usually smoke with your morning coffee, try cutting out the coffee and having breakfast instead. If you’re used to smoking after a meal, try walking around in fresh air instead. The key is to dissociate the situations from the activity and gently break the habit. Try and distract yourself till the craving has passed. Just think about all the good you’re doing for your baby and motivate yourself to quit.