Quit smoking - practical tips
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.
• 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.
GOOD LUCK AND CONGRATULATIONS!!!