Most people know that smoking is harmful during pregnancy. When you smoke, your baby receives less oxygen and nutrients. Smoking increases the risks to your own health too. Quitting smoking, cutting down the amount, and avoiding second-hand smoke can help both you and your baby be as healthy as possible.
If your partner, family member or friend smokes, ask them to smoke outside and away from you and your baby.
Smoking is the leading cause of low birth weight and preterm birth.
As a dietitian, I often get asked “What can I do if I crave smoking?”:
Keep your mouth busy.
Drink water, or snack on healthy food such as raw veggies, fruits, smoothies, low fat yogurt, whole grain crackers and cereals, hard-cooked eggs and 2% or 1% low fat milk or low fat cheese.
Keep yourself busy!
Do something you enjoy. Call a friend or go for a walk. Replace a tobacco break with an activity break. It may help to have a daily plan to be more active.It’s possible that if you are able to reduce smoking you may eat more to replace your oral habit. Being physically active and making healthy food choices will help to maintain a healthy weight.
Support is available.
Talk to family or friends about your decision to reduce or quit smoking and ask them for support. You may also consider attending a free quit-smoking support group. Your healthcare provider can let you know about other options available. Quitting is a challenging process and it may take smokers several quit attempts. When you use more than one type of support (e.g., counselling and medication), you are more likely to stay smoke-free.
Most important, you’ll feel great knowing that you are taking care of yourself and giving your baby the best possible start in life. It may not be easy, but you can do it!