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Quitting Smoking While You’re Pregnant

by Jane Wangersky | December 2nd, 2013 | Pregnancy

nosmokingIf you’re pregnant and a smoker, you know that may be harmful for your baby — but you may think it would be too tough to quit right now. Quitting’s always tough, of course, and with the other stresses of pregnancy it may just seem like too much. But here are a few facts to consider.

It’s never too late, even if you’re months into the pregnancy. When you quit, your baby will start getting more oxygen — and a better chance of avoiding lung problems and other physical issues.

Withdrawal symptoms, though they can drive you up the wall, won’t do anything harmful to the baby or even cause any stress on him/her. For more myth debunking about pregnancy and smoking, see

Cravings are bound to come when you’re quitting smoking, but a recent study in Canada has found that “15 to 20 minutes of walking at a mild to moderate pace is sufficient to ward off cravings” in pregnant smokers. Plus, walking is better for you than nicotine patches and gum, which may not even work. (However, if you just have to have your nicotine, gum may not be as bad as a patch.)

There’s plenty of help out there for someone who’s decided to quit smoking — some of it is specifically for pregnant women. Smoking Cessation For Pregnancy And Beyond is an online course produced by Dartmouth Medical School — and thanks to the Center for Disease Control, it’s free.

Another free online resource is the American Legacy Foundation’s It’s not just for pregnant women, but has some good information for them, plus a lot of detailed information about stop-smoking medications and handy advice like “Blame your doctor. Seriously. He or she won’t mind being the bad guy.”

Though online help can be great, there’s no substitute for help in real life. You’re going to need supportive people around you — and this is possibly the best time to ask for support, when there’s a baby involved. Your baby’s father is likely the most important one to get help from.

It’ll be tough, no doubt, but worth it — and you don’t have to go through it alone.

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