Smoking & Pregnancy

Many women quit smoking during pregnancy. Often, they then stay smokefree afterwards. If you are still trying to conceive then going smokefree could improve your fertility.

Being smokefree is healthier for you and your baby

When you smoke, over 4,000 chemicals go into your body. One of these is a poisonous gas called carbon monoxide which gets into your bloodstream and cuts down the oxygen reaching your baby. For every cigarette you smoke, the blood flow to your baby is disrupted for about 15 seconds.

Health risks for you…

•More complications during your pregnancy and labour.

•Increased risk of miscarriage, bleeding and sickness.

•Increased risk of premature birth or stillbirth.

Health risks for your baby…

•Lower birth weight and weakness.

•Slower growth of your baby.

•Higher chance of cot death.

•Damage to airways which could cause breathing problems or asthma

Going smokefree is beneficial at every stage of your pregnancy

Smoking is harmful throughout your pregnancy and stopping at any stage will be good for your baby. The good news is that the most damaging effects of smoking happen in months 4-9. This means that if you stop smoking within the first three months of your pregnancy your baby is likely to be a healthy weight.

Get your partner, family and friends to support you

If your family or friends smoke near you, you will breathe in harmful gases and chemicals. Your partner, family and friends can all help you by making sure that they don’t smoke when you are around. You could even ask them to go smokefree too!

Give your baby the benefit of a smokefree childhood

If your child grows up in a smokefree home they will be less likely to catch colds, coughs and bugs. And you will reduce the risk of serious problems like…

•Cot death.

•Asthma attacks or chest infections.

•Lung cancer when they are adults.

•Meningitis.

•’Glue ear’ and partial deafness.

Get professional advice and speak to your doctor

If you are finding it difficult to cope with the cravings, you could try nicotine patches or gum. This is safer than smoking because it does not contain the toxic chemicals that cigarettes contain. Talk to your doctor first – they can advise you on the best option and can give you a prescription for gum or patches so it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to be smokefree.

Nicotine patches or Gum

Nicotine products like patches and gum are often called Nicotine Replacement Therapy or NRT for short. They help you to deal with nicotine withdrawal cravings, and double your chances of successfully going smokefree.

NRT works differently to cigarettes. It does not contain toxic chemicals like tar or carbon monoxide, and does not cause cancer.

You can get NRT on prescription, so being smokefree doesn’t have to be expensive. NRT is suitable for most people, however you should check with your doctor if you are pregnant, have a heart or circulatory condition or if you take regular medication.

•Nicotine gum

•When you chew nicotine gum, the nicotine is absorbed through the lining of your mouth.

•Nicotine patches

•Nicotine patches work well for most regular smokers and can be worn round the clock (24 hour patches) or just during the day (16 hour patches).

•Microtabs

These are small tablets containing nicotine which dissolve quickly under your tongue.

•Lozenges

Lozenges are sucked slowly to release the nicotine and take about 20-30 minutes to dissolve.

•Nicotine nasal spray

•The spray delivers a swift and effective dose of nicotine through the lining of your nose.

•Inhalators

Inhalators look like a plastic cigarette. The inhalator releases nicotine vapour which gets absorbed through your mouth and throat. If you miss the ‘hand to mouth’ aspect of smoking, these may suit you.

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