Planning to quit smoking for a healthy pregnancy? 8 tips to ease the journey

Smoking is injurious to everyone's health, but it's especially harmful for pregnant women. If you;e trying to quit smoking, try these tips!

pregnancy and smoking
These tips may help you quit smoking. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Shalini Agarwal Published on: 13 March 2022, 21:33 pm IST
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Smoking is a habit known to be extremely harmful to the person engaging in it as well as those around him or her through second hand smoke. Even after knowing this fact, millions struggle to quit it and fight various physical as well as psychological cravings to overpower it. If you’re planning to conceive, giving up the habit is the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby. But if you are wondering how to quit smoking, maybe we can be of some help.

Before we dive into it, let us know some statistics and information about smoking

smoking and pregnant women
Give up smoking! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

In India, the prevalence of current tobacco smoking among youth has been estimated as 14.60 percent (19 percent in males and 8.3 percent in females), while among adults the prevalence of current tobacco smoking has been estimated as 14 percent (24.3 percent in males and 2.9 percent in females).

Side effects of smoking for women

Women are known to face higher risks of cancers and other diseases in comparison to their counterpart male smokers. The risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) is 25 percent greater in women who smoke cigarettes than in male smokers, independent of other cardiovascular risk factors.

The risk of smoking in women for her fertility, ability to get pregnant and to the unborn foetus is significantly high.

* Women who smoke have more difficulty becoming pregnant and have a higher risk of never becoming pregnant.

* Smoking during pregnancy can cause tissue damage in the unborn baby, particularly in the lung and brain.

* Some studies suggests a link between maternal smoking and cleft lip, a physical condition in which the upper lip of the new-born baby is split in two.

smoking and miscarriage
Smoking can even lead to miscarriage sometimes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

* Studies also suggest a relationship between tobacco and miscarriage. Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke can keep the developing baby from getting enough oxygen. Tobacco smoke also contains other chemicals that can harm unborn babies. The baby could be born too early, or even die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

* It’s best to quit smoking before one gets pregnant. But if the woman is already pregnant, quitting can still help protect her and her baby from health problems. It’s never too late to quit smoking!

* Women can face unique challenges as they plan to quit. Certain factors may make it harder for them to do so.

Negative emotions and reminders of smoking are powerful triggers for many smokers and some women are very sensitive to these. This means that feeling stressed or sad can make it harder to quit and stay quit. Learning how to handle these times without using cigarettes and making a plan beforehand can help you stay on the path.

Worries about weight gain on quitting smoking can affect some women. Instead of worrying about possible weight gain, focusing on the other important health benefits such as clear skin, better looks and good health can help them focus on their goal.

Also Read: 6 things that happen when you smoke during pregnancy

smoking and pregnancy
You have ample reasons to break up with smoking! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How to quit smoking:

1. Let loved ones know you are quitting:

Getting support from the important people in one’s life can make a big difference when one quits smoking. Friends, family, co-workers, and others can be there for her.

2. Remove reminders of tobacco use:

Seeing things like cigarettes, lighters, cases etc. can trigger a craving for a smoke. Keeping this out of sight can help.

3. Delay until the craving passes:

The urge to smoke often comes and goes within 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Deep breathe:

Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of three and exhale through your mouth for a count of three. Visualize your lungs. Drink water sip by sip to beat the craving.

deep breathe
Deep breathing can help! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Distract:

Do something else to distract yourself. Perhaps go for a walk.

6. Use technology:

There are multiple authentic sites and apps available to help you to quit smoking. Use these to help you quit. They help how to strategise and make plans to help quit smoking. The programs provide daily tips, advice, and encouragement to help you become and stay tobacco free.

7. Smoking deaddiction programmes:

Enrol yourself in a good programme led by qualified practitioners to help you quit.

8. Medications:

There are many medicines like nicotine patches, Varnecline, Bupripion which help reduce craving. However, these can only be taken by the prescription of a RMP. Also, most cant be used by pregnant women.

So, being aware of the risks and working at reaching this seemingly impossible goal will help. Stay strong. It is possible!

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About the Author
Dr Shalini Agarwal Dr Shalini Agarwal

Principal Consultant - Gynaecologist, and Obstetrician at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, New Delhi, Patparganj

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