If You Smoke And Are Pregnant

... Or Thinking About Pregnancy,This Self-help Guide Will Give You The Information You Need To Quit Smoking Successfully.

Take The First Step For Your Baby

Having a plan is the most important step you can take to help you quit smoking. This workbook was written by an ex-smoker and mother of two with input from a tobacco prevention expert.

Benefits of Quitting

There are many reasons to quit smoking if you are pregnant. Perhaps none is as important as having a healthy baby. Quitting smoking any time during your pregnancy will improve your baby's chances of being born healthy. The sooner you quit, the better. Cancer-causing chemicals have been found in the waters (amniotic fluid) that surrounds babies before they are born. Smoking also limits the oxygen your baby can get and can cause brain damage.

Quitting smoking:

  1. Decreases the chances you will miscarry.
  2. Lowers the risk of health problems in the last 3 months of pregnancy.
  3. Lowers the chances of having a baby born too soon (before 40 weeks).
  4. Increases the chances of the baby having a normal weight.
  5. Lowers the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Smokers have an increased risk of having a baby that weighs less than 5 and a half pounds, who could be very sick. Quitting by the fourth month lowers this risk.

Quitting Smoking Facts

  1. Nicotine, an addictive drug, will be out of your body in 3-5 days when you stop smoking.
  2. You will start to breathe easier in 2-3 weeks.
  3. About 1-2 weeks after quitting most people do not crave cigarettes as much.
  4. Cravings for cigarettes last only 3-5 minutes.
  5. Everyone who quits smoking does not gain weight. A third of quitters lose weight, a third stay the same and a third gain an average of 5 pounds.

When you quit smoking, you help your baby to be born closer to the due date.

Try Again, Even If You Tried To Quit Before

  1. Most people who quit smoking try many times before becoming non-smokers.
  2. Each time you try to stop smoking, your chances of quitting forever get better.
  3. Don't give up if you smoke again. Learn from each time you try to quit smoking. Ask yourself, what helped? What didn't work?
  4. Remember, it is hard to change everyday habits and to overcome nicotine. You can do it. Keep trying!

Remind yourself you are quitting smoking for your life and the health of your unborn baby.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Half of all ex-smokers say they have no withdrawal symptoms. If you have any, remember they will go away. Symptoms are felt most during the first one to two weeks after quitting. Cigarette cravings last only three to five minutes and occur much less after the first seven to ten days. Try deep breathing to deal with them. Deep breathing can also help you during labor. Withdrawal symptoms stop faster for people who quit all at once than for those who cut down gradually. Make it easier on yourself when you quit, ask others not to smoke around you.

Possible Withdrawal Symptoms

  1. Cough - Smoking stops the hair-like cilia in your lungs that sweep out and clean them. Coughing means that cigarette tars are being cleared out of your lungs.
  2. Tingling or Numbness - Better blood flow occurs when you are smoke-free. This may feel like tingling or numbness in the arms and legs.
  3. Nervousness and Tension - Withdrawal from nicotine can cause you to feel nervous and tense. This will get better one to two weeks after quitting. Drink lots of fruit juices or water in the first few days to help flush the nicotine from your system.
  4. Lack of concentration or Dizziness - The brain gets more oxygen instead of poisonous carbon monoxide gas after you quit. This is a positive sign of health.
  5. Slight sore throat - Tobacco smoke irritates and numbs the throat. A slight sore throat may be felt as the numbness wears off and the throat heals.

Some of these symptoms are normal and will end soon. Your body is healing, and you are becoming a healthy ex-smoker.

Your Plan

Most ex-smokers made plans to help them stop. Follow these steps to make your own successful plan for quitting.

  1. What are your reasons for quitting smoking cigarettes?

    List your reasons for quitting:

    1 (fill in the blank)

    2 (fill in the blank)

    3 (fill in the blank)

  2. Think about when you smoke. For example: drinking coffee, after a meal, or when on the phone. List when and where you smoke:

1 (fill in the blank)

2 (fill in the blank)

3 (fill in the blank)

Change Your Habits

If you smoke when you drink coffee, try drinking hot chocolate. If you smoke when you finish a meal, get right up, take a walk, or go to another room. If you smoke when you watch T. V., try doing something else with your hands like drawing, doodling, playing cards, or stringing beads. If you smoke when you are nervous, try talking with someone, taking a walk, exercising, or chewing gum.

List daily habits you can change:

Instead of smoking when I:

1 (fill in the blank)

2 (fill in the blank)

3 (fill in the blank)

I can do this instead:

1 (fill in the blank)

2 (fill in the blank)

3 (fill in the blank)

Use Cigarette Substitutes

Examples of cigarette substitutes:

For your mouth:

For your hands:

List 3 cigarette substitutes you would like to use:

When you have the urge to smoke, do something else.

Reward Yourself!

List rewards you will spend your savings on:

1 (fill in the blank)

2 (fill in the blank)

3 (fill in the blank)

4 (fill in the blank)

Set a quit date.

I am determined! I am going to quit smoking on: month, day, year, your signature, today's date

Successful quitters reward themselves. Savings can be used to buy you or your baby a special treat.

After Your Baby Is Born

Because you are a non-smoker, your baby will have:

  1. Fewer coughs and colds
  2. Fewer ear infections and may have less pain due to ear infections
  3. Better lung development
  4. Less risk of asthma triggered by secondhand smoke
  5. A better start for healthier brain development
  6. Lowered risk of dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

By not smoking, you help your baby breathe better and grow better. When you are a non-smoker your baby will be less likely to start smoking as a teenager.

If You Start To Smoke Again

Don't feel bad. Throw away your cigarettes and start over again. Your chances of becoming an ex-smoker get better each time you try to quit. Ask for support from people who want to help you with your plan to become a non-smoker. Keep their phone numbers with you, so you can call them when you need to.

You fail ONLY when you stop trying. Try again...


Places to call for help with quitting smoking, keeping your baby away from secondhand smoke and other parenting topics:

Web sites for more information on quitting smoking:

Increase your chance of success. Get help with quitting from your family, friends, and healthcare provider.

79,000 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $9,127 or $.116 each (November 2004)


Before Quitting Checklist

When you quit:

Remember, cravings to smoke last only three to five minutes. Practice deep breathing to help them pass. Review page 5 to help you understand possible withdrawal symptoms. Use your change habits listed on page 7 and your cigarette substitutes from page 8 as a reminder. Some people say that quitting feels like losing your best friend, but think about what you have to gain!

I am quitting smoking for a little reason...

My quit smoking date is:

My baby's due date is:

Pregnant? Planning A Family? A New Parent? Take the first step for your baby.
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