Whether you want to have children someday or you are pregnant right now, it’s safe to say that every mother out there wants what’s best for her baby. However, when it comes to nicotine addiction, transforming your body into the best environment possible will be difficult if you don’t stop smoking.
Both new moms and future mothers are under a lot of stress these days. The media is constantly painting a picture of how a perfect mother looks. It’s the one who can quit smoking right away, bounce back right after giving birth, lose 20 pounds overnight, maintain a healthy diet throughout the pregnancy, and crave vegetables only!
Yet, the reality is — if you are a heavy smoker, quitting while you’re pregnant will be tricky. The fear of failing both yourself and your baby is huge, and you’ll need reassurance.
Luckily, that’s exactly what you’ll get here. Let’s see how you can quit smoking while pregnant without stressing yourself out or giving in to your urges.
Never light up again — methods you could try out
1. Go cold turkey
Although many think that quitting cold turkey will put too much stress on a woman’s body and the fetus, there isn’t enough evidence to support that claim. Of course, going cold turkey will likely leave you nervous, a bit depressed and anxious — but those feelings go away after about 3–4 weeks.
The good news is that you are more likely to quit for good when you’re pregnant, purely because you’re not just thinking about yourself. Your baby can suffer greatly, turn into a nicotine addict while in your belly, and perhaps even succumb to various health issues if you continue to smoke.
The bad news, though, is that quitting cold turkey is really difficult. It means you’ll have to quit as soon as you get pregnant and deal with the urges throughout the whole pregnancy. Most people use cigarettes to soothe themselves — but if you quit, you won’t have that safety net anymore.
In the end, going cold turkey is one of the best ways to quit smoking while you’re pregnant. You’ll immediately reduce the risks of all sorts of ailments and pregnancy issues. However, your mental state won’t be that great in the first few weeks, so if you’re a heavy smoker, another method might be better for you.
2. Get your nicotine fix from something else (nicotine replacement therapy)
Each cigarette you smoke has about 4,000 chemicals in it. All those chemicals will go into your bloodstream and reach your baby, potentially causing irreversible developmental issues.
Still, for some smokers, especially those who smoke at least a pack a day, this information is nothing new. The issue isn’t that those women don’t want to quit — they’re just not strong enough to do it right now.
There’s no reason to feel ashamed about this — we’re all human. If you find it difficult to quit cold turkey, you might be a good candidate for nicotine replacement therapy.
This sort of treatment can essentially help you “take the edge off” while you’re trying to quit. There are a variety of options to choose from — nasal sprays, gum, patches, inhalers, and even lozenges. All of these will contain a certain dose of nicotine that will allow you to get your “fix” without actually ingesting toxic chemicals, such as carbon monoxide.
Still, nicotine replacement therapy could have some side effects, especially if you overuse these products. Also, let’s not forget you’ll be addicted to nicotine until the cravings stop completely. Whatever you decide, though, you would have to consult with your doctor and figure out what the best option is.
3. Quit gradually
According to former heavy smokers, quitting gradually seems to be the best of both worlds. You won’t have to use various nicotine alternatives, and you’ll also probably quit in the end. Your body will essentially get used to lower nicotine levels until you don’t need to smoke ever again.
If you decide to step away from your regular pack a day gradually, you’ll have to do it fast. When you quit within the first 14 weeks, your baby is likely to stay unharmed. However, continuing to smoke after 14 weeks is extremely dangerous. That’s when the cigarettes are most likely to stunt the baby’s growth and lead to complications you really could have prevented.
4. Invest in anti-smoking literature
If you’re an avid reader, and you believe in the power of words, you could also try to quit smoking by reading one of the most famous books about it — Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking.
You’ve probably seen it before, and you’ve heard all the success stories. To some extent, this book does work. You’ll feel as if the author is hypnotizing you into obedience. Even just after a few pages, you’ll see cigarettes as something rather disgusting.
The only problem? The author insists on the readers smoking their way through the book. You are going to naturally quit as soon as you finish reading it, which means that if you’re a slow reader, this method could make things a lot worse for you. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to try it — but aim to read as fast as possible!
5. Get counseling
Finally, if you feel as if you need someone to support you through this ordeal, don’t forget that you can always talk to a therapist. Certified counselors will be able to get to the root of your addiction and show you how to fight it on a daily basis. Furthermore, they won’t judge you or say that you’re harming your baby on purpose. They will understand why you’re frustrated and will acknowledge your feelings, which is, let’s face it, what every pregnant woman deserves.
In the end, addiction is no laughing matter. Most people think smoking is a lot less dangerous than drugs. But, when it comes to quitting, it seems everyone’s having a hard time, even though cigarettes are legal.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that your baby deserves to be born healthy. Additionally, you deserve to live a long and happy life, without having to spend hundreds of dollars on something that has no benefits at all.
The most important thing to have in mind is that you will probably have to fight those urges for a while. So, whenever you feel that you need a cigarette, try to think of your baby and take deep breaths. Occupy your mind with something else, drink water, or wait for a bit to see if the urge goes away. At one point, it won’t be as difficult as it was at the beginning. You just have to be persistent!