Quit for You, Quit for Two

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pregnant women standing in field with arms out

Women can have very different feelings about smoking and pregnancy. Maybe you’re thinking about getting pregnant and trying to figure out how smoking fits into this decision. Maybe you’re excited to be pregnant or maybe having a baby right now wasn’t part of your plan. Maybe you feel pressured to quit because you’re pregnant. Or maybe you’re a new mom who’s having trouble staying smokefree. No matter where you are in your pregnancy or your smokefree journey, having the right information can be powerful.

Know how smoking―and being exposed to others’ smoke―can affect you and your baby.
If you smoke, you may have a harder time getting pregnant. If you do get pregnant, your baby may face more health problems. Pregnant smokers have a higher chance of having a baby born too early (premature) or with certain birth defects. But quitting before you get pregnant will take away these risks. If you already are pregnant, quitting as early as possible can still help protect against some health problems, such as low birth weight, and increase your chances of having a healthy baby.

 If it’s too overwhelming right now to quit entirely, you still can help your baby by making and keeping a plan to cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke. Trying to reduce your exposure to secondhand smoke also will be helpful for your baby.  If you aren’t able to have a smokefree home right now, you might want to ask others to limit their smoking to only one room in the house or to smoke outside.

Know how quitting smoking can help you and your baby.
Quitting smoking before or during pregnancy is one of the most important things you can do to get you and your baby off to a healthy start. Quitting smoking:

  • Lowers the chance of problems and increases the chance of safe labor and delivery.
  • Increases the chance of having a normal birth weight baby.
  • Increases the chance your baby’s lungs will develop well.
  • Helps protect your infant from the dangers of secondhand smoke and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Know how to get help.
Being around others who smoke can make quitting even tougher. If somebody you live with or spend lots of time with isn’t ready to quit with you, there still are things you can do to reduce your exposure to secondhand smoke. You might start by simply having a conversation. Tell people that you are trying to be smokefree to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. Let them know that quitting is hard. Be specific about what you’re struggling with—maybe you’re having cravings when you see their cigarettes or lighters. Talk to them about ways they can help you stay smokefree, whether it’s smoking outdoors only or being there for you on text or phone when you’re trying to get through a difficult craving.

Know how to get support.
Studies have found that people who have close friends and family they can count on are happier and healthier. Some people are able to quit smoking on their own, but many need help and support to quit. It’s okay to ask for help. A lot of people do. Call on your family and friends during the good times and the bad.

Want some more tips? Check out other information, tools, and support to help you on your smokefree journey.

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