To stop smoking is a tough thing to do. It’s just ain’t easy. But now that you’re pregnant, stopping has never been so important. Smoking during your pregnancy puts both you and your baby at risk. Smoking will increase the risk of complications and may also be fatal for the mother and the baby.

Why should you stop smoking?

Smoking while pregnant will increase your risk of having a miscarriage, premature labour, stillborn, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), birth defects, a baby with low birth weight and also complications which causes bleeding and problems with the placenta and that placenta is where your baby relies on for oxygen.

Also, when your child grows older, he or she may have behavioural problem, wheezing coughs or is hyperactive and an attention seeker.

Credit: Tobacco Harm Reduction Malawi

Can I smoke e-cigarettes instead?

E-cigarettes, also known as electronic nicotine delivery system comes in different shapes and sizes. Most of them contain a battery, heating device and a cartridge. The liquid in this device contains nicotine, chemicals and also flavourings.

Even though the aerosol contains fewer harmful chemicals, note that anything that contains nicotine is not safe to use during pregnancy. Nicotine can damage the brain and lungs of the baby, and the flavouring is equally harmful too.

What can you do to stop smoking?

Be proud of yourself if you made plans to quit smoking. If you aren’t pregnant yet, set a date when you want to stop or cut down gradually which may be a more helpful step. If you are pregnant, stop immediately, or your baby may be at risk. Get rid of all your cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays and clean your house so that it doesn’t smell.

If neither of these helps, try nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as lozenges, gum or patches.

If your partner smokes, encourage him to cut down or at least not smoke in the house so that it is also easier for you to stop.

Credit: NPR

Benefits of quitting

Quitting will help you feel better and healthier not only for your baby but for you too. When you stop smoking, your baby will get more oxygen and has a lesser chance of being born early.

You will also be less likely to develop lung cancer, heart disease, stroke or any other diseases or cancer. You will also be able to breathe easily, and you will be able to taste your food better.

Adjusting to a new life can be quite hard especially when you want to quit smoking and when there’s a new family member soon. Do your best and if you ever start smoking after giving birth, don’t smoke near your baby or while you breastfeed. I know that stopping is never easy and it might take more to quit for good. It is never impossible, and you can also provide a healthier environment for your soon to be little angel.

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