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Quit smoking - practical tips

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Lisa Fendall, specialist midwife and smoking cessation trainer, as seen on BBC 3's Misbehaving Mums To Be, gives her top tips to stop smoking:

Becoming pregnant can be a very exciting time but also a very worrying time. There are many changes you feel you have to make and it can be very difficult at a time when you are feeling stressed or worried.

If you are a smoker then it puts your baby in danger and giving up, not cutting down or changing brands, is the only way to reduce the risks to your baby. By stopping smoking you reduce the risk of miscarriage, bleeding in pregnancy, having a small, weak and poorly baby, still birth or cot death.

After stopping smoking, within a very short space of time your body will recover from cigarettes and your baby benefits immediately.

• Within 8 hours your oxygen levels return back to normal and your baby will receive the oxygen it needs to grow and develop.
• Your baby’s growth will no longer be affected after 48 hours.
• You reduce the risk of having complications during your pregnancy the moment you quit.

There are many different forms of Nicotine Replacement Therapy to choose from and your baby will get the nicotine but without the Carbon Monoxide, a poisonous gas that takes the oxygen away from your baby, the tar and chemicals like arsenic and formaldehyde (used to embalm bodies!!)

You can use Nicotine Replacement Therapy to help manage those cravings and there are many great forms to choose from. It is free if you are pregnant. Cravings can be difficult to manage in pregnancy and you may have noticed you are smoking more than usual, this is because your body metabolises nicotine (uses the nicotine) more quickly in pregnancy and cravings can get more difficult to manage. This is why it is important to get help and support to stop.

You can use the patch, which you put on in a morning and remove at night time.

The inhalator, you puff on a bit like a cigarette and can help if you miss the hand to mouth action.

The mouth spray delivers nicotine very quickly and can reduce cravings within 1 minute. 

Gum is chewed then parked between your cheek and gum where you absorb the nicotine.

Lozenges come in many different flavours and strengths but simply dissolve in the mouth over about 30 minutes.
The nasal spray has some unpleasant side effects to begin with until you get used to using it but is also very effective in delivering nicotine quickly when you need it the most.

Micro tab is a small, discreet and flexible tablet you place under your tongue and let dissolve and you can use it very frequently throughout the day.

It is important that the Nicotine products are used properly and your stop smoking advisor can show you how to make the most of your chosen product. It should be used for 12 weeks because it takes 10 weeks for the nicotine receptors in the brain to stop craving nicotine from cigarettes.

Getting help and support is really important and you are far more likely to stop and find it easier if you get help from someone specially trained in stop smoking techniques. They can help you to choose a Nicotine product, show you how to use it and help you to choose a quit day. They can measure your carbon monoxide levels each week and show you just how much you are benefitting your baby as the levels drop within just 24 hours to that of a non-smoker!

Ask your GP, Midwife or Health Visitor about help in your local area or call the National some help and support to help you quit. Pregnancy Helpline number 0800 169 9 169 and tell them where you live. They can put you in touch with the local service. Or you could just GOOGLE ‘Stop Smoking Service (+ your post code!)

It’s never too late to stop smoking. The sooner the better but any time will have great benefits for you and your baby.

Top Tips:

• Get help and support from an NHS Stop Smoking Service Advisor or Midwife to help you stop smoking
• Get a friend or partner to stop with you
• Tell your friends what you are going to do and get them to support you
• Make sure you use a Nicotine Product and don’t do ‘Cold Turkey!!’
• Save your money to buy things for the baby
• If you don’t manage to do it first time don’t give up!! Many people have to try several times before they manage it.




  • when I was pregnant with my son at 16 years old, I had been smoking for 4 years all ready (disgusting I know :/ ) I continued to smoke while we were trying and then as soon as I got the positive pregnancy test I quit, Im not gonna lie I did have a few fags during my pregnancy (probably about 10 through the whole thing) but then when my son was about a month old I started smoking again , wish I didn't though. Now I am again trying to conceive and have successfully quit smoking :) I have had a fag in 10 days, I no longer feel the need for one and I now think the smell and taste are disgusting also the last fag I had made me really lightheaded because I quit for a couple of days and then had one and it was after that I quit for good :) xxx

    by yummy-mummy- 14 January 2014

  • I stopped when I found out I was having twins :)

    by Jorjiex 23 July 2013

  • i quit when i was prengant i couldnt bare the thought of harming my baby. now i have given birth i have had a few and feel like im going to start again, i think im just doing it out of boredom when little one is asleep helppppp

    by han237 10 July 2013

  • I've cut down, I'm trying to stop completely

  • at first, sadly i only cut down smoking because I was going through quite a lot and everything wasn't really real. but after a really short time i looked at my last fag and thought to myself "i've got a little baby inside me, what the hell am i doing" I was really upset with myself and never touched one since! now even the smell of it makes me feel sick :D I think it's as well just different people. Some people go through their whole pregnancy smoking and their babies turn out completely fine :) I just wouldn't want to risk it at all. I'm still working on my boyfriend, he's doing his best for me but soon he should be fully quit, when he's around me anyway! :') x☮x

    by Lydiaeve 7 March 2013

  • Wow ladies give ur self a massive pat on the back for quitting I know I am!!! xx

    by rachmumof2 27 February 2013

  • I stopped when I found out I was pregnant! My main motivation was that I was saving money which ment I could spent it on the baby xx

    by AmberMalkov 26 February 2013

  • Finding it hard. I can go long periods without one but sometimes after a really bad day I need one to cheer me up :( x

    by Gemma_xo 21 January 2013

  • i stopped whilst pregnant but now at night when im a little stressed i have one makes me feel bad but finding it hard to cope alone

    by pheebs 16 January 2013

  • Found it hard at first to quit smoking, but when I started to feel baby moving around it put me off smoking completely as I didn't want anything to put him/her at risk! Worried I will start smoking once baby is born though:/

    by Ella_A-J 2 January 2013

  • i knew i was pregannt because i went of smoking x

    by Rosie_Mihell 9 November 2012

  • i knew i was pregannt because i went of smoking x

    by Rosie_Mihell 9 November 2012

  • it made it easier to quit knowing I was pregnant

    by 9 November 2012

  • i found it hard to stop, but thats probably because i went about it all the wrong way, i just tried to cut cigarrettes out of my life all together, but then i seeked some advice from my midwife, and gradually began to cut down, it was much easier and before i knew it i was from 20 aday to 6-7.x

    by meganmummy14 26 October 2012

  • I tried to stop.but it wasn't easy .

    by indre 5 October 2012

  • just quit but the cravings are still there but what better motivation to have than a baby :)

    by Mumma_Issie 21 September 2012

  • i found it hard to stop xx

    by 29 August 2012

  • I'm trying so hard to stop! Hopefully it wont be long now, I'm determined for my gorgeous little baby!

    by _Abbieee 12 August 2012

  • i hope to quit if im pregnant...hopefully it will be easier if i get my best mate to quit with me :) xx

    by x_shannon_x 10 August 2012