- It is no secret that smoking is a very harmful and bad addiction. In fact, it’s absolutely correct to say that ‘smoking kills’. And once you are into smoking, it becomes even more difficult to quit. Smoking is a hazardous addiction which can lead to serious health ailments like cancer, lung and heart diseases, problems with circulation, skin and eyes problems, etc. In extreme cases it can even cause death. Smoking in fact lowers your lifespan. And in pregnancy, it doubles the effects as the child also becomes the victim. A woman should literally not dare to touch a cigarette once she knows about her pregnancy, as it affects the baby’s health, and in severe cases, it can lead to miscarriages, abortions, premature delivery, and low birth weight.
Hazardous Effects of Smoking During Pregnancy
A single cigarette contains thousands of harmful chemicals and compounds, like cyanide, lead, nicotine and carbon monoxide. When you smoke, the chemicals enter your body and indirectly enters the baby’s body through the blood stream. Nicotine and carbon monoxide narrow down the arteries and this results in lowered oxygen supply to the baby. Babies born to pregnant smokers are more prone to severe health conditions like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma and lung disorders. Smoking also affects the baby’s brain and can lead to learning disabilities and behavioral problems in future. Smoking a pack of cigarettes daily can lower the baby’s weight by about a pound, and low body weight in a baby means stunted growth in the future too. The harmful effects of smoking in pregnant woman include vaginal bleeding and delivery problems, which includes ectopic pregnancy, which is a kind of abnormal pregnancy in which the fetus (baby) cannot survive and a still birth takes place, in which the baby dies in the uterus itself.
Quitting Smoking When Pregnant
After reading the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, anyone would expect the person to quit cigarettes automatically. But this thing never happens. Smoking is such an addiction that one tends to ignore the body health and the cigarette becomes dearer than the health. This is a real challenge. Following are some of the ways and tips to motivate and quit smoking specially when you are pregnant.
- Visualize the Baby- Think of your baby when you get an impulse to smoke. Pregnancy is one of the best phases of a woman’s life and every woman dreams of giving birth to a healthy baby. As seen in the earlier paragraph, smoking is so hazardous for your baby’s health, so stop smoking at least for your baby’s sake.
- Go Cold Turkey- Another method is giving up smoking completely at one go. This is often referred as the cold turkey method. This method can be tough for some as it involves giving up cigarettes completely. In this method, you are supposed to throw away all your cigarette packs, ashtrays and lighters. This technique demands strong willpower, and if you are a heavy smoker you could experience some withdrawal symptoms like depression and stress.
- Stay Happy- Pregnancy is a happy phase and you should enjoy this phase, so don’t let any kind of stress bother you as stress is an open invitation to a cigarette and other health ailments.
- Manage Your Surroundings- It’s always better to announce your plans to quit smoking to all your friends and acquaintances, because it’s like a commitment. You should feel free to ask them to not to smoke when you are around as you might get an urge to smoke. Passive smoking is also very harmful.
- Don’t Give Up- Even if you experience symptoms like depression and cannot control that craving for a cigar, don’t give up. Instead engage yourself in some other activity, so that your mind is diverted.
- Train Your Mind- The mind is an amazing machine, with immense power. Fix it in your mind that you wouldn’t give in to the cigarette urge, your mind has powers to help you control the craving.
- Prepare a Notebook- Jot down in a notebook all the reasons on why you have to stop smoking. Also write the harmful effects of smoking in this notebook. If you get an urge to smoke, go through this notebook, your interest would automatically diminish.
- Enjoy the Benefits of a Healthy Life- Your decision to quit smoking means, you have chosen to live a healthy life. Be positive about your decision and enjoy the new lifestyle. You can also join a good pregnancy class where you would find like-minded friends. Deep breathing exercises are also very good for relieving stress and makes one strong.
- Be Strong- Don’t let cigarettes become your weakness. You should be strong enough to live without any addiction. It will also give you a feeling of satisfaction that you can live life without the puff.
- Use Nicotine Alternatives- This one is the least recommended tip, but you can go for it in extreme cases. Giving up smoking can be a tough task, especially if you are into this habit for years. But now the demand of time is that you quit it completely and immediately. If on some occasion, the urge is very strong, you can indulge in some nicotine replacements like a nicotine chewing gum. But remember that you should have the replacements only if the urge is very strong.
Ladies, think about the happiness the ‘little bundle of joy’ would give you once he/she arrives, and use this joy as a tool to repel that dangerous stick, called cigarette.