Smoking and pregnancy

By Linda L. Barrett RN, BScN, MSc on April 09, 2008
If you are pregnant and a smoker you probably know that smoking is not good for yourself or your developing baby.

Here are some of the benefits for your baby when you quit smoking:
  • they get more oxygen as they develop in the womb
  • they’re less likely to be born premature
  • they’re more likely to have a normal birth weight
  • they’ll have fewer colds and ear infections.

The facts about smoking and quitting:           

  1. Confidence in your ability to quit is important in the process.
  2. Relapse to smoking is a valid part of the process.
  3. Going cold turkey alone is NOT the best way to quit. Help along the way increases your chances of success.

What you can do now for yourself and your baby

Start thinking about quitting:

1.Forget about the past. Don’t be hard on yourself if you have tried to quit in the past but were unsuccessful. Accept relapses as a valid part of the process, guilt can sabotage new efforts you make to try to quit.

2.Reframe the way you think about quitting.  It may help if you think of quitting smoking by saying things to yourself like “Quitting is tough, but I am tougher.” or “Smoking is bad for me and my baby.”

3. Redefine ‘success':think about how you define success in your own smoking situation. It may help to look at quitting as a process or journey in which you will take steps and reach milestones. It is just as important to recognize that any movement forward in the process of quitting can make a difference for you and your developing baby’s health.

4. Get help: make an appointment with your family doctor, or call a public health nurse in your community to ask for help. These professionals can help guide you about what steps to take to increase your chances of success in quitting smoking. Studies show that smokers who ask for help, have a plan, and take medication as recommended can double their chances of reducing or quitting smoking compared to those who do not take these steps.


Linda Barrett is Project Co-ordinator, D-TRIP (Doctors and Tobacco Reduction in Pregnant Women), an AADAC (Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission initiative in collaboration with the Division of Continuing Education at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.


By Linda L. Barrett RN, BScN, MSc| April 09, 2008

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