Quitting at any stage of your pregnancy is the best thing that you can do for you and your baby. Being prepared can help you succeed.
Maybe you’re thinking about quitting because you’re trying to get pregnant, or you have a baby on the way. No matter where you are in your pregnancy, it’s never too late to quit smoking. Deciding to quit is the first step to becoming smokefree. Being prepared can keep you moving forward.
Plan to Quit for Good
Many women quit smoking or try to do so while they’re pregnant. Some plan to start smoking again after their baby is born. Quitting smoking during and after your pregnancy can help ensure your baby has the best possible start in life. Keep your baby and yourself safe from the harms of cigarettes and make your pregnancy the start of your smokefree life. To help you prepare and boost your chances of success, build a quit plan today.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you’re pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about quitting. You can begin by being open about your challenges, especially if you haven’t been able to quit in the past. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about local support groups, in-person or telephone counseling, and digital health resources such as text message programs, smartphone apps, or online quitting programs.
Pregnant women are encouraged to try quitting without medications. More research is needed about the medications’ safety and effectiveness for pregnant women. But, if you have not been successful in quitting, ask your doctor if medication is right for you and your baby.
Talk to your doctor before taking any of the following:
- Over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy medications such as a patch, gum, or lozenge
- Prescription medications (for example: Varenicline or Bupropion SR)
Know What to Do When It Gets Tough
Triggers, cravings, and withdrawal are some of the biggest challenges smokers face when quitting.
- Know what makes you want to smoke and learn ways to avoid these triggers so you can stay smokefree.
- Make a list of things you can do when you’re having a craving instead of smoking. You’ll be ready to handle tough moments more easily.
- Withdrawal symptoms are temporary and will lessen over time. Be prepared to manage these uncomfortable feelings by building healthy coping skills, exploring quit methods, or creating an exercise plan.
It takes most people several tries before they quit for good. Even if you haven’t completely stopped yet, know that every cigarette you don’t smoke is helping you and your baby be healthier. Try a Practice Quit text messaging program and practice quitting for one, three, or five days. You can repeat the program as often as you want to. If you’re ready to quit for a longer time, sign up for SmokefreeMOM.
Explore Quit Smoking Tools
There are many ways to quit smoking – try different options and find what works best for you. While quitting cold turkey works for some people, getting help can make it easier and help your chances of quitting for good. Below are free, no-judgement resources to help you quit.
- Try SmokefreeMOM. This text message program gives 24/7 support to pregnant women. Enter your child’s due date to receive customized messages that match where you are in your pregnancy. Then, choose your goal of the program: to quit smoking or receive messages on smoking and health. You have the option to receive support even if you’re not yet ready to quit permanently. Sign up online or text MOM to 222888 to join now.
- Join the Smokefree Women Facebook page. Women who have quit, or are trying to quit, offer one another advice and inspiration.
- Make your phone your quit buddy. Download quitSTART or QuitGuide, Smokefree’s free smartphone apps. Track your cravings by time and location to help you see patterns so you can stay in control. They also have ways to see your progress and fun distractions to keep you from having a slip.
- Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to speak with a quit smoking counselor. Get information and encouragement or referrals to local programs.
- Log on to LiveHelp, an online chat service, available Monday through Friday 9:00am-9:00pm Eastern Time. A trained specialist will give you support and quit smoking information.
What About E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes should not be used during pregnancy. This is because e-cigarettes usually contain nicotine, which can hurt pregnant women and their babies. Nicotine is addictive and can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs. E-cigarettes may also contain other substances that are harmful to a developing baby, like heavy metals, flavorings, and cancer-causing chemicals.
There is little evidence that e-cigarettes help people quit. Quitting all forms of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is best for you and your baby. Talk to your health care provider about proven, safe, and effective quit methods.
Visit Smokefree.gov to learn more about e-cigarettes.
Ask for Support
Tell your friends, family, and loved ones that you’re planning to quit smoking for good – for you and the baby. When pregnant women and new mothers get positive support from their loved ones, they’re more likely to successfully quit.
- Explain to them how they can help. Maybe you just need someone to listen. Or maybe you want someone to celebrate with you. Ask them to try to be there for you as much as possible.
- Tell them you may have physical symptoms or mood changes because of withdrawal. Ask them to be patient and supportive even if you’re in a bad mood.
- Have no smoking rules in your house and car and ask smokers to follow them. Many people say that it’s hard to stay smokefree around people who smoke.
Tip: It’s OK to take a temporary break from people who don’t support your quit. Remember your reasons for quitting and surround yourself with people who will provide positive support and encouragement.
Visit Smokefree.gov for more information on how to start your quit.