If I can't quit smoking during pregnancy, is there any way to make it less harmful to my baby?

If I can't quit smoking during pregnancy, is there any way to make it less harmful to my baby?

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If you're pregnant and you continue to smoke, there's only one proven way to protect your baby: Smoke less. Although even one or two cigarettes a day can raise the risk of premature birth, stillbirth, and other complications, a couple of cigarettes a day are definitely less dangerous than a whole pack.

As long as you're cutting back, why stop at one or two? To truly protect your baby, you should go all the way to zero. When pregnant women tell me that they can't quit smoking, I encourage them to rethink the word "can't." Most successful quitters have to go though a few trial runs before they finally kick the habit. No matter how many times you've tried to quit in the past, it's worth another shot.

If you continue to smoke throughout your pregnancy, be sure to tell your doctor or obstetrician. She'll want to pay especially close attention to the growth and development of your baby. Your doctor can also help you quit for good. She may recommend counseling, nicotine replacement therapy, or another aid to help you give up cigarettes. Quitting is the only way to truly protect your baby from the dangers of smoking, and it's a goal that's within your reach.

Editor's note: Studies have suggested that pregnant smokers tend to have a shortage of several key nutrients — including beta carotene, vitamin B 6, vitamin B 12, and vitamin C — raising the possibility that these women might especially benefit from vitamin supplements. Also, animal studies suggest that iron supplements for pregnant smokers might slightly cut the risk of a low-birthweight baby. There's no proof, however, that supplements or anything else can protect a growing fetus from the harmful effects of cigarettes.

Watch the video: Help 2 Quit in Pregnancy (August 2022).

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