Quitting smoking is the best gift you can give to your baby before they are even born. However, while pregnant, ditching the cigarettes can seem like an impossible task.
To get you started we’re going to answer some frequently asked questions to help you with your decision to quit smoking.
How does it harm my baby?
When you smoke, you breathe in over 4,000 chemicals from a cigarette.
Those chemicals go from your lungs straight into your bloodstream.
That blood flows to the placenta & umbilical cord into your baby’s body.
Smoke stays in the womb for up to 15 mins, restricting their oxygen supply.
What does it do to the baby?
Their tiny heart has to beat harder every time you smoke. Your baby is completely dependent on you, if you smoke your baby smokes.
They’re likely to go through nicotine withdrawal when they are born. Your baby will be stressed, more irritable and harder to settle down.
There’s also an increased risk of cot death. A baby whose mum smoked is 25% more likely to die from cot death.
Isn’t my stress from quitting worse for the baby than smoking is?
No. Smoking is far more damaging than the stress could ever be. Cravings between cigarettes may make you feel stressed, but this is just the withdrawal. These cravings will last around 3 minutes. Beat the cravings by doing a cheeky bit of baby shopping or write a list of baby names. You’ll feel much better once you’ve quit. As a non-smoker your stress levels will be lower, perfect timing for when the baby arrives!
How about cutting down?
Cutting down is a great start, but it won’t get rid of all the harm for your baby. Even a few cigarettes a day can cause low birth weight and other health problems. Quitting smoking altogether as early as possible ensures much better health outcomes for the both of you.
My partner smokes, should they quit?
Yes. Second-hand smoke can harm both you and the baby, increasing your risk of a miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects, cot death and problems that could affect your child for life like allergies and asthma.
Women who live with a smoker are 6 times more likely to smoke throughout pregnancy. Those who live with a smoker and manage to quit are more likely to relapse to smoking after the baby is born.
If you both smoke, quit together, you’ll be stronger as a team.
Okay, so what are the benefits?
Your baby will be healthy
The risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirth and cot death are all reduced. Your child will have a lower risk of health problems, such as asthma and lung infections.
You’ll glow more
Your clothes and hair will smell cleaner and your skin will look better. You will feel sick less and you’ll be able to get more oxygen in your body, which can make labour a lot easier for you!
Smoking can make you feel guilty, you will worry a lot about the harm smoking is doing to your baby. Once you quit you will be free from worrying and feeling guilty. Your baby will thank you for it.
Money, money, money
You’ll save loads of money. People who smoke 20 a day could save over £2,800 a year by quitting smoking. Think of what you could buy with that!
Smokers suffer nicotine withdrawal symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, every time their nicotine levels get too low.
Your sense of taste will return and you’ll enjoy those cravings more! Your breathing and fitness will improve. After one year you’ll reduce the risk of heart disease.
“I was smoking between 10 and 20 a day and knew I had to give up but I couldn’t do it on my own. The help I got from my midwife Julie was brilliant. She came to the house and really helped me through it. She told me that we would set a date to quit and helped me prepare all week for that day. I got an inhaler and patches and within two days I’d quit and I haven’t smoked since but she still calls me up to see how I’m doing.
The readings on the carbon monoxide monitor used to scare me because of what was going through to the baby – the reading was 18 before but is now down to 2. Now I can’t even stand the smell of smoke! “I would encourage other mums-to-be to just give it a go, but they need support and someone to help them through it.”
Your Midwife, Health Visitor, GP or Local Pharmacy
If you’re looking to quit smoking for your baby, these people have all the answers, offer great support and give the right advice on nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
Wait I still have more questions!
Our information pack, is filled with the answers to all of the questions you have, plus advice on where to go for more help.
Click here to download. Your baby will be thanking you for taking such an amazing step!
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