The umbilical cord is how your baby gets the oxygen and nutrients it needs to grow. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen and blood flowing through the umbilical cord to your baby. This means your baby's heart has to work harder, and increases the stress on your baby's developing body.
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, complications affecting the placenta, premature birth and low birth weight. Low birth weight babies are at more risk of health problems. Babies born to mothers who smoke during or after pregnancy have an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS, or 'cot death').1
Even if you are already a few months' pregnant, quitting now will reduce your risk of having a low birth weight baby similar to that of a non-smoker. Labour with a small, underweight baby is not easier than with an average sized baby. In fact, low birth weight babies are more likely to become stressed during labour, causing complications.
Quitting smoking can seem like a daunting task, especially if you're already finding the pregnancy stressful. Dealing with the cravings, the irritability, the urge to have 'just one more cigarette' may feel like too much to take on. But while smoking might seem relaxing, it actually increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Even if you haven't managed to quit in the past, you can do it this time. The trick is to set yourself up to succeed.
- Plan ahead: set a giving up date, and tell family and friends so they can support you. Learn about methods for quitting and decide which one will work for you.
- Learn to manage cravings with the 4Ds: Delay, Deep breathe, Drink water and Do something else. Cravings only last a few minutes on average, so go for a walk or phone a friend to distract your mind for a little while.
- Keep reminding yourself why you are giving up: for your health and your baby's—and think of all the money you will save that you can spend on nicer stuff!
Call us on 5442 4644 as The Gianna Centre to arrange for QUIT Education Program or contact a Quit educator made available at the Bendigo Community Health Centre (click for contact details).
Visit the QUIT Victoria website for more information on quitting.
Some views expressed on this websites may not necessarily express the views of The Gianna Centre and are an advisory option only.