I am almost 17 weeks pregnant and i can not stop smoking. i have slowed down a lot but i can not seem to quit. i hate myself for that because i love my baby. i can go all day at work without a cigeratte but when i get home it’s the first thing i want. everytime i go to the doctor the baby has a strong and healthy heartbeat. should i be worried that i am harming my baby?”
Yes, you should be concerned, smoking is extremely dangerous for your baby. There are links between smoking and miscarriage, stillbirth and prematurity, stunted growth and facial deformities, and babies whose mothers smoke before and after birth are three to four times more likely to die from SIDS. Smoking even affects your future child’s personality: one study found that 2-year-olds regularly exposed to cigarette smoke in utero were nearly 12 times more likely to show clinical levels of behavioral problems compared to toddlers who were not exposed. And total quitting is the only solution: even one or two cigarettes a day have been linked to the effects listed above. If you smoke less than a pack a day, quitting cold turkey is just as effective as any method.
If cold turkey is out of the question for you, talk to your health care provider about e-cigarettes, or vaping as a way to step down your nicotine intake while avoiding the 43 carcinogens and 400 other harmful ingredients in tobacco smoke.
Having support can also greatly improve your chances for success. The American Cancer Society has a free support line, at (877) 937-7848, offers one-on-one counseling over the phone 24 hours a day– you can call and someone will talk you through a craving. If you smoke more than a pack a day, ask your doctor if nicotine replacement or a more gradual quitting method would be more effective. Good luck, you can do it!