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Pregnancy Complications

Smoking During Pregnancy

Pregnancy and Smoking

What It Means To Be Smoking For Two

You're going to have a baby--and you smoke. What better time to quit? And for two very good reasons: you and your baby. Pregnancy can be a time of joy and stress. It may seem overwhelming to think about quitting now. Even if someone you know may have smoked during her pregnancy and had a problem-free delivery and a healthy baby, quitting still offers you and your baby the best chance for a fresh start.

Quitting is hard.

Maybe you've tried to quit before. And even now, it isn't easy giving up something that is so much a part of what you do every day. But studies show that the more times you try to quit, the more likely it will work out the next time. The stress of quitting won't harm your baby either. So whether you are in your first trimester--or your last--it is still the best decision you can make for both of you.

You are not alone.

Here are a few steps to help you:

  • Get help and advice. Let your doctor or nurse know you want to quit. Once you set a quit date, they can also help you decide whether nicotine replacement therapy (the nicotine patch, gum, or nasal spray) would be good for you to use during your pregnancy.
  • Enroll in a quit-smoking class or program. The more support you have, the greater your chance for success in fighting the urge to smoke. Check with your health care professional, local hospitals, the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, or American Heart Association for a program near you.
  • Keep those close to you in the loop. Family and friends can be a big help. Also remember that every prenatal care visit is another chance to update your doctor or nurse. Look to the people who care to help you stay on track.
Remember, a smoke-free you is the best gift you can give your baby--and yourself!

How will you and your baby benefit?

Experts say that there are both short- and long-term benefits to quitting smoking:

  • As soon as you quit, your baby gets more oxygen.
  • You'll feel less winded, and have more energy.
  • There is less risk of delivering a low-birth weight baby.
  • After your baby is born, there is less risk that your child will have health problems such as asthma.
  • There is less risk of your baby having middle ear fluid and other infections, which are common in infants and young children of parents who smoke.
  • You'll lower the chance of heart and lung diseases for you and your baby.
Source: AHCPR Publication No. 97-0062c

Additional Resource:

You may also a printed copy by calling toll free 800-358-9295 or writing to: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Publications Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907.

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