Advice on how to stop smoking - steps you should take when giving up.
Giving up smoking is just about the best thing you can do for the health of your developing baby. While it can be temping to just cut down, research has shown that when you do this you tend to inhale the cigarettes you do smoke deeper to get the nicotine fix. So, although it may be hard, giving up completely and staying away from people who are smoking is the best thing for your baby.
While its the right thing to do, quitting isn't necessarily going to be easy as an addiction to cigarettes often represents a psychological and physical dependency on nicotine. For this reason its best to prepare yourself and your coping strategies before you quit.
- Decide when to quit - ideally this should be as soon as possible once you know you are pregnant. Tell your friends and family your plan so that they can support you (and avoid smoking around you) and ask your partner to give up with you if he or she smokes.
- Keep a smoking diary - for the few days before you give up try to write down where and when you smoke as well as who you are with and how you are feeling. This will help you to identify the situation in which you smoke and enable you to either avoid them or to prepare yourself with a distraction for them once you give up.
- Talk to your doctor - your doctor or midwife will be able to provide you with advice on giving up, talk you through your options and recommend counseling or support groups you can attend.
- Plan a coping strategy - thinking about what you can do to cope with cravings before you give up will mean you are more likely to resist temptation. Calling a support line or a friend, drinking some water, using nicotine replacement therapies, going for a walk or chewing gum call all help. If you have an ultrasound picture of your baby you could carry this with you and take it out every time you are tempted to light up.
- Get rid of all of your cigarettes, lighters, tobacco and ashtrays on the day you give up. During the first few weeks you could also try and stay away from people and situations where you may be tempted to have one final puff.
Once you have given up you are likely to experience some side effects such as irritability and cravings. Take comfort in the fact that these should only last a couple of weeks as your body is weaned off the nicotine and focus on the fact that they are a sign of the toxins leaving your body, making it a better place to nurture your growing baby.
By giving up smoking you are doing a wonderful thing for your future health and the health of your baby. By preparing yourself for the cravings and getting all the support you can from your partner, friends, family and health care provider, you will be in with a much better chance of giving up for life.