Once you know that you are pregnant, the best thing to do is reviewing your habits that may interfere with the fetal growth and development. Right now, you take care of not only your health but also that of the fetus. One of the bad habits, which you should quit immediately since the very early stage of pregnancy is smoking. Smoking during pregnancy is known to have many adverse effects on the fetal growth and development.
Dangers of Smoking during Pregnancy
The health professionals always recommend pregnant women to quit smoking. This is not without any clear reasons. Smoking adversely affects the fetal development and the baby’s life after birth. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of low birth weight delivery, miscarriage, birth defects, such as cleft palate, respiratory problems, intrauterine fetal death, and even pre-term birth.
Smoking also affects the baby’s development and growth during infancy and childhood. By smoking, you increase the risk for your baby for the developing the following health problems:
- Learning delay and disability
- Asthma attacks
- Behavioral problems
- Sudden infant death syndrome
- Vulnerability to infections and various health problems
Those are enough reasons for you to quit smoking. Besides putting the baby at increased risk for impaired growth and development, smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk for the child to smoke later in his/her life. Studies have shown that a daughter of a smoking woman has increased risk for smoking later in her adulthood. So, if you do not want your baby to be a smoker later, quit smoking right now!
How to Quit Smoking during Pregnancy
Quitting smoking is certainly not as easy as it sounds. However, you can make it easier by analyzing your smoking habits, including the time and the reasons for you to smoke. You can begin by identifying the situations and events that encourage you to smoke. This way, you can prevent yourself from being in such situations. For instance:
- If you smoke when you are under stress or anxiety, take important steps to avoid stress.
- If you smoke when you are around smoking people, avoid being around those people
- If you smoke during the break time with workmates, find other alternatives to spend the break hours, such as talking with friends or reading pregnancy-related books
- If you smoke when you drink coffee, find other alternative and healthier beverages, such as fruit juice
By identifying your habits, quitting smoking during pregnancy will be much easier. Then, you can find additional support and take important steps to help you, including:
- Finding someone to give you positive reinforcement when you want to smoke. The person can be your husband, one of your workmates, your superior, and so on
- Consulting your doctor and ask for advise and alternative activities to avoid smoking.
- Remove all products or tobacco-related items from your house
- Ask your husband (if he is a smoker) to not smoke around you and keep his tobacco away from you
- Prepare healthy foods and snacks that you can grab anytime
The level of difficult to quit smoking during pregnancy varies with person. The harder you smoke, you more difficult for you to quit. The most important thing is that you need to put your baby’s health and development the first priority. If you love your baby, then you will be able to avoid harmful things that interfere with its growth.