A new pregnancy can be an exciting time for you and your family.
It's also the best time to evaluate some of those bad habits, and kick them in the butt for good.
Yes, we are talking about cigarettes!
You know it's bad for you, but it's not just about you anymore. In order to give yourself and your child the best chance at a healthy pregnancy and life, it is increasingly important to kick the habit for good.
According to the 2011 Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System, of 24 states, only 55% of women who smoked at least 3 months prior to their pregnancy quit during their pregnancy, and 40% of those women picked up the habit again within 6 months after their delivery. Approximately 10% of women surveyed admitted that they had smoked within the last 3 months of their pregnancy!
Aside from the obvious personal health concerns that you risk while smoking, such as cancer and heart disease, continuing to smoke during your pregnancy immediately increases the chances of a premature birth and low birth weight, birth defects to your baby, and even miscarriages. Your baby can also suffer from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) if you continue to smoke after your baby is born, or if they are exposed to second-hand smoke from your spouse, friends or family.
All the more reason for everyone to quit together!
While quitting is a difficult task, the benefits greatly outweigh the consequences that can occur to you and your new baby. The American Pregnancy Association recommends developing a plan to attack and defeat this beast of a habit:
Create a list of all the reasons and benefits for quitting. This includes not just your baby, but for yourself as well! Keep this list with you and whenever you have the urge to smoke, just read this list and remind yourself why you started this!
Make adjustments to your daily habits that usually included cigarettes. If you typically smoke after a meal, choose to take a walk instead.
Have a strong support system! This is where encouraging friends and family to quit with you. Not only will this create a sense of accountability to one another, you have others who are there for you when you are struggling.
Ask your health care provider for information and resources, and then consult with your primary doctor to provide their professional opinion.
Set a quit date! On this day you will toss anything and everything that may create a desire to smoke. Make sure to let your support system know what day you are quitting so they can be available when you need them.
Remember, that while quitting seems impossible now, follow these steps and commit to a healthier life, and your baby will thank you later on! Below are some additional resources you can utilize while developing your plan and staying strong during the quitting process: