Quit Smoking for Two: Tips for Quitting During Pregnancy
It’s one thing to smoke when you’re by yourself, or with a group of friends or coworkers who smoke cigarettes. While the effects of smoking are still unhealthy and dangerous, it’s largely yourself that you’re harming. However, when you’re pregnant, smoking becomes a lot more dangerous. It’s not just impacting you, but also your unborn baby.
Many moms-to-be who smoke find reasons to justify it. Susan Harshbarger, nurse practitioner and tobacco treatment specialist at St. Clair Hospital, explains, “Maybe you know other moms who smoked during pregnancy, or maybe you smoked during another pregnancy and everything was okay.” But, she points out, “Every pregnancy and every baby is different.” And the chances are high that children will not escape the effects of smoking during a pregnancy.
The Effects of Smoking on Your Unborn Baby
Smoking can impact your baby in many ways, including the moment they’re born. Susan explains that smoking during pregnancy, or being exposed to secondhand smoke, can cause babies to be born early, or to be underweight, both of which can cause serious health problems later in life. They may also be born with smaller lungs, or might get sick more often. They even have an increased risk of birth defects, like cleft palate.
Even if the effects aren’t immediately apparent, babies born to mothers who smoked or were exposed to secondhand smoke also have an increased risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. They may also face other health problems later in life.
How Much Is Safe?
According to Susan, there is “no safe level of smoking during pregnancy.” Fortunately, there’s good news: quitting smoking at any time during pregnancy helps your baby grow healthier and stronger, and will have other immediate health benefits for you and your baby. Your blood pressure will be lower, you’ll have lower anxiety levels, and you’ll have better circulation.
Planning to Quit
If you are pregnant and a smoker, quitting is healthy for both you and your baby. The best way to be successful at quitting, says Susan, is planning to quit. Learn how you can create your own quit plan, and get tips for successfully quitting smoking, by watching Susan’s video and following her tips. You may also want to talk to your doctor about your health care options if you intend to quit smoking. We know you can do it!