How To Stop Smoking Cigarettes When Pregnant

Answers To 8 Common Questions About Smoking And Pregnancy

Quit Smoking : How to Stop Smoking While Pregnant

2017 min

Quitting tobacco is one of the best things that expectant mothers can do for their health and the health of their babies.

What makes quitting so important at this stage? We turned to the experts behind BecomeAnEX®, a digital quit-smoking program by Truth Initiative® and developed in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, for answers to eight common questions about smoking and pregnancy.

Get Support From Family

It’s far easier to quit smoking if other people around you aren’t smoking too. Its also important to avoid secondhand smoke, which can be just as harmful to a fetus.

“If there are other members of the family smoking, everyone needs to stop and quit together. Its very difficult for one individual to give up if the rest of the family are smoking,” Livingstone says. “Pregnancy is a window of opportunity for the whole family to make changes.”

Explore Quit Smoking Tools

There are many ways to quit smoking you dont have to quit cold turkey. Below are free, no-judgment resources that will help you quit.

  • Try SmokefreeMOM. This text message program gives 24/7 support to pregnant women. Enter your childs due date to receive customized messages that match where you are in your pregnancy. Then, choose your goal of the program: to quit smoking or receive messages on smoking and health. You have the option to receive support even if youre not yet ready to quit permanently. or text MOM to 222888 to join now.
  • . Women who have quit, or are trying to quit, offer one another advice and inspiration.
  • Make your phone your quit buddy. Download quitSTART or QuitGuide, Smokefrees free smartphone apps. Track your cravings by time and location to help you see patterns so you can stay in control. They also have ways to see your progress and fun distractions to keep you from having a slip.
  • Speak with a quit smoking counselor. Call , or log on to LiveHelp, an online chat service. A trained specialist will give you support and quit smoking information.

Tip: It might take some time to find the quit method that works best for you. If one isnt working, try something new. Each time you try is a step closer to a smokefree life.

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Five As Of Tobacco And Nicotine Cessation

1. ASK the patient about all types of tobacco or nicotine use* at the first prenatal visit and follow up with her at subsequent visits. The patient should choose the statement that best describes her tobacco or nicotine use status:

  • A. I have never used tobacco or nicotine or have minimal amounts of tobacco or nicotine in my lifetime .

  • B. I stopped using tobacco or nicotine before I found out I was pregnant, and I am not using tobacco or nicotine now.

  • C. I stopped using tobacco or nicotine after I found out I was pregnant, and I am not using tobacco or nicotine now.

  • D. I use some tobacco or nicotine now, but I have cut down on the amount of tobacco or nicotine I use since I found out I was pregnant.

  • E. I use tobacco or nicotine regularly now, about the same as before I found out I was pregnant.

If the patient stopped using tobacco or nicotine before or after she found out she was pregnant , reinforce her decision to quit, congratulate her on success in quitting, and encourage her to stay tobacco and nicotine free throughout pregnancy and postpartum. If the patient is still using tobacco or nicotine , document tobacco and nicotine status in her medical record, and proceed to Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange.

2. ADVISE the patient who uses tobacco or nicotine to stop by providing advice about quitting with information about the risks of continued tobacco and nicotine use to the woman, fetus, and newborn.

Box 2.

  • Article Location
  • How Can Smoking Affect Your Baby

    10 Tips to get Pregnant Faster

    When you smoke during pregnancy, chemicals like nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar pass through the placenta and umbilical cord to your baby. These chemicals can lessen the amount of oxygen that your baby gets. This can slow your babys growth before birth and can damage your babys lungs and brain. If you smoke during pregnancy, your baby is more likely to:

    If you smoke and are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, tell your provider. Your provider can help you quit.

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    Quitting Smoking While Pregnant: What Works

    Nicotine patches, Zyban helped 4 out of 5 women, study says

    HealthDay Reporter

    WEDNESDAY, July 27, 2016 — Use of nicotine patches or the drug Zyban helps pregnant women quit smoking before and after they give birth, a new study says.

    “In public health terms, these results are significant because one in five pregnant women smokes,” said study author Anick Berard, a professor with the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Montreal.

    “We already know that smoking during pregnancy increases the chances of miscarriage as well as low birth weight, premature birth and birth defects — events that are linked to health problems in children,” Berard said in a university news release.

    However, the study authors added that pregnant women or those looking to become pregnant should check with their doctor before taking any medication.

    The new study results will give pregnant women evidence-based options to quit smoking, Berard said. They’ll “also give data to health care professionals for them to prescribe the right treatment while evaluating the risks and benefits associated with each pharmacological method,” she said.

    The study looked at nearly 1,300 pregnant women in Quebec. It found that 80 percent of pregnant women who used nicotine patches or Zyban were able to stop smoking. Even after they discontinued using the products, 68 percent of those who used nicotine patches and 60 percent of those who used Zyban did not start smoking again during or after pregnancy.

    Positive Ways To Overcome Stress

    There is no single way to cope with stress because everyone is different. Here are some suggestions:

    • find someone who you can talk to about stressful situations and discuss solutions with
    • relax by listening to soft music, reading a good book, doing yoga or taking a walk
    • give yourself regular rewards to celebrate your accomplishments
    • maintain a healthy diet
    • become more physically active to help release the body’s natural calming chemicals and to promote better sleep

    Want to quit smoking but are worried and stressed?

    • You dont have to do it alone. Talk to a quit coach, support group or loved-one. You can be proud to ask for help, knowing that by doing so youve increased your chances of success.
    • Building a plan ahead that includes several quitting methods can also give you peace-of-mind.

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    Quitting Smoking Before Pregnancy


    • Smoking is addictive and harmful. Quitting smoking can help reduce your risk for cancer and other diseases.

    • Smoking during pregnancy can cause problems for your baby, like premature birth and birth defects. It also increases your babys risk for SIDS.

    • If youre pregnant, dont smoke and stay away from secondhand smoke.

    • If you need help to quit, tell your health care provider. Make a quit plan to keep you on track to help you get and stay smoke-free.

    Hypnosis And Quitting Smoking While Pregnant

    Stop Smoking : How to Stop Smoking Before Pregnancy

    A 2020 Cochrane review outlined that the safety and effectiveness of NRP and medications for quitting smoking during pregnancy were unconfirmed, and further research is needed.

    After an extensive literature search, there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that there are any health risks associated with using hypnotherapy or meditation to quit smoking. In fact, this search showed that there are numerous studies that demonstrate the benefits. One such study published in 2020 noted that undergoing hypnosis sessions proved to reduce nicotine cravings in smokers who wanted to quit using tobacco, but they struggled with the willpower to do so. Another study noted that hypnotherapy was even more effective than NRP.

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    Q: What Are The Biggest Challenges Involved With Quitting Smoking While Coping With Infertility

    Dr. Vij: Infertility is an incredibly stressful situation for couples to deal with, and stress is a huge driver for smoking. So its important to find other ways to cope with stress that dont harm reproductive health.

    Doctors can provide assistance in helping men and women quit smoking. There are several medications that have proven to be effective in helping people quit, including bupropion and varenicline . To get started, schedule an appointment with your doctor and ask for help.

    Secondhand Smoke Harms Your Baby

    If your partner or anyone else who lives with you smokes, their smoke can affect you and your baby before and after their birth. You may also find it more difficult to stop if someone around you smokes.

    Secondhand smoke can also reduce your baby’s birthweight and increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome , also known as “cot death”. Babies whose parents smoke are more likely to be admitted to hospital for bronchitis and pneumonia during their first year.

    To find out more about quitting and to get support, your partner can call the NHS Smokefree helpline on from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 11am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday.

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    Is It Safe To Use E

    No. The nicotine, flavors and other chemicals in e-cigarettes can harm you and your baby. Breathing in someone elses e-cigarette vapor also may be harmful. More research is needed to better understand how e-cigarettes affect women and babies during pregnancy.

    If youre pregnant and using e-cigarettes, talk to your health care provider about quitting.

    Benefits Of Quitting For You And Your Baby

    Why to quit smoking during pregnancy

    Smoking cuts down the amount of oxygen and nutrients that get to your baby through the placenta.

    Your baby needs these to grow and develop, so babies of women who smoke tend to be smaller.

    A smaller baby does not mean an easier delivery. The babys head wont be much smaller but their lungs and heart may be under developed and weaker.

    If you smoke, stopping before or during pregnancy will reduce the risk of:

    • your baby being born with abnormalities
    • slow baby growth

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    Q: Once You Quit Smoking How Long Does It Take To Improve Reproductive Health

    Dr. Austin: The good news is that many health benefits are visible within weeks or months of quitting. But some effects arent seen for a year after quitting. So, of course, the sooner you quit, the better.

    For women, the positive effects of quitting smoking can be detected in the eggs in three months. Since it takes 90 days to produce the egg that will be released during your cycle, the egg that you ovulate in three months is starting to be made now.

    Dr. Vij: For men, the cycle of spermatogenesis is three months. Any change you make in lifestyle, medication or surgery will generally take three months to impact sperm health. After quitting, its best to wait three months before testing sperm quality.

    Smoking During Pregnancy Can Cause Problems For Your Child In Later Life

    Smoking during pregnancy can impair your childs health for years to come. Health effects may include:

    • weaker lungs
    • higher risk of asthma
    • low birth weight, which is linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in adulthood
    • increased risk of being overweight and obese in childhood
    • increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder .

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    Q: Whats The Best Advice You Can Give Smoking Couples Struggling With Infertility

    Dr. Vij: If youre struggling to get pregnant, educate yourself and your family about how fertility is impacted by smoking. We find that couples are the most successful when they tackle smoking cessation together.

    Smoking is a very serious risk factor for heart disease and cancer. If you want to be around to see your kids grow up, now is the time to quit. Plus, its a lot harder for an older adult to quit smoking.

    Dr. Austin: Your ultimate goal should be to create a healthy, stable environment for your child. Do it from day one to give your baby the best possible start before they are even conceived.

    It Is Never Too Late To Quit Smoking During Pregnancy

    Stop Smoking : Stop Smoking While Pregnant

    Quitting smoking before getting pregnant is best. But for women who are already pregnant, quitting as early as possible can still help protect against some health problems for their developing babies, such as being born too small or too early. It is never too late to quit smoking.

    It is important to quit smoking for good. A women might think it is safe to start smoking again after her baby is born. But babies of mothers who smoke may breathe in the secondhand tobacco smoke that can harm their health. Although quitting for good can be hard, the benefits are worth ita healthy baby and many more years of good health to enjoy with him or her.

    If you or someone you know wants to quit smoking, talk to your healthcare provider about strategies. For support in quitting, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to local resources, please call 1-800-QUIT-NOWexternal icon TTY 1-800-332-8615.

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    What Is Secondhand Smoke

    Secondhand smoke is smoke you breathe in from someone elses cigarette, cigar, pipe or other tobacco product. Being around secondhand smoke during pregnancy is dangerous and can cause your baby to be born with low birthweight or birth defects.

    Secondhand smoke also is dangerous to your baby after birth. Babies exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely than babies who arent to die of SIDS. Theyre also at risk for:

    • Asthma.
    • Pneumonia.

    Sign A Contract To Quit Smoking With Your Doctor

    The University of North Carolina Translational & Clinical Sciences Institute created a handbook for The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The handbook, which is designed to help clinicians help their patients quit smoking, features a sample contract that a patient enters into with her prenatal caregiver. The patient indicates the date on which she intends to quit smoking, and both patient and physician sign the contract.

    Having your doctor overseeing your progress is an important part of taking control of your health care, and being proactive about your pregnancy.

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    Alternative Forms Of Nicotine Delivery

    Noncombustible products, such as snus, dissolvable tobacco, and electronic nicotine delivery systems , have nicotine-related risks and an increased risk for oral cancer similar to that of chewing tobacco 2728293031. Studies demonstrate an increased risk of altered fetal autonomic cardiac regulation and nicotine withdrawal in neonates born to women who used snus during pregnancy, effects that are similar to those found in women who smoke tobacco 3233. Although more research is needed to quantify the perinatal effects with use of these products in pregnancy, the risks of noncombustible product use should be discussed.

    Electronic nicotine delivery systems are used by smokers who commonly believe that they are a safer and healthier alternative to cigarettes that will aid their smoking cessation efforts 3839. A survey of pregnant women who smoked found that 14% reported using e-cigarettes to help with smoking cessation 40. However, nearly two thirds of adults who use e-cigarettes continue smoking cigarettes 41. Standardization of e-liquid and heating mechanisms is needed to better describe and understand the health effects of these products on pregnant women, fetuses, and offspring and to understand their role, if any, in smoking cessation.

    What Are Some Tips To Help You Quit Smoking

    Health matters: giving every child the best start in life ...

    Making a personalized quit plan is a great way to help you quit smoking. It can help increase your chances of quitting and staying smoke-free. Visit to get your plan started. Here are some things to include:

    • A quit day. On this day, throw away all your cigarettes or cigars, lighters and ashtrays. Choose a day within the next 2 weeks so you have time to get ready.
    • Your reasons for quitting. Look at the list when you think about smoking.
    • Triggers that make you want to smoke. Triggers can be emotional feelings, activities or social events. Knowing what your triggers are can help you learn ways to manage them.
    • Ways to deal with cravings. For example, go for a walk to help keep your mind off smoking or use a stress ball to keep your hands busy. Snack or chew gum to keep something in your mouth.
    • Get rid of reminders, like matches and ashtrays. Wash your clothes and clean your car.
    • Tools to help you quit. Ask your health care provider about things like patches, gum, nasal spray and medicines. Don’t start using these without your health care provider’s OK, especially if you’re pregnant. Use apps and quitlines. has a free text message program for pregnant women who are trying to quit. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for advice from a quit smoking counselor. Look for programs in your community or workplace.
    • Telling your family, friends and loved ones about your plan to quit smoking for support.

    Other things to do to help you quit:

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