Instructions for a tobacco free pregnancy
As we well know, tobacco is harmful but it is not always easy to give up...
Future mother and smoker? Rather than feeling guilty about it, getting stressed and lighting up another cigarette, it is better to set operation-motivation in motion: it is never too late to stop smoking!
Better understanding the effects of smoking helps
Finding out you are pregnant is a wonderful source of motivation to give up for all women who smoke. But for some, actually doing so is still difficult and in Australia a small percentage of women reach their due date without having been able to free themselves from this dependency. The placenta cannot filter out everything: when pregnant, the baby receives oxygen from its mother’s blood.
Tobacco causes the blood to be filled with harmful substances.
As the placental barrier cannot filter everything out, these substances reach the foetus through the umbilical cord. In addition, because tobacco has the effect of narrowing the blood vessels, the oxygenation of the baby is also more limited. A number of consequences: it is clear today that smoking causes a delay in in-uterine growth, resulting in lower birth weight, smaller size and cranial perimeter, as well as retarded lung formation. Breathing problems are also more common in smokers’ babies, for whom the risk of premature birth is also three times higher. And, it is better not to ignore the fact, smoking also increases the risk of foetal malformation, miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. But understanding the harmful effects of smoking is not enough, it is often useful to use an appropriate method to help.
Finding the right way of giving up is essential
As each dependency on smoking is a personal matter (psychology, physiology, etc.), the method that will make it possible to stop must also be. There is nothing more demoralising than to succeed and then end up giving in...
Consult an expert: this is now possible in many maternity clinics and will help put an appropriate strategy in place in each case. Including cognitive therapies. This is the best solution for women who know immediately that they will not find it easy to stop by themselves.
Substitutes: patches, chewing gum, etc. These are allowed for use by pregnant women, to reduce cravings and the risks, and can be obtained on prescription from a doctor or tobacco dependency specialist.
Complementary medicine: acupuncture, auriculotherapy, hypnosis, etc. act both by promoting an aversion to tobacco and calming the emotions. Sophrology, for its part, puts psychological mechanisms to reduce cravings in place. Use a number of approaches to ensure you don’t give in. It works! Persuading yourself that smoking less than five cigarettes would be tolerable is self deception: the carbon monoxide, the main toxic substance, is still present. In addition, when women smokers reduce their consumption, heavy smokers among them suck harder on their cigarette, increasing the harmfulness of the combustion products (tar and carbon monoxide).
It is better to stop smoking completely and choosing a supporting method to help you if cravings get too strong:
Mimic the habit: pick up a pen, take it to your mouth, in short, replace the motion of cigarette smoking, which forms an integral part of the dependency, particularly when on the phone...
Find a distraction: give your hands something to do such as skincare... which is as pleasant as it is useful. Feel fresh: by brushing your teeth several times a day, the healthy feeling makes the idea of smoking horrible.
Avoid temptation: No after-lunch coffee, which automatically brings the traditional accompanying cigarette to mind.
Swallow something: preferably a large glass of water to overcome the craving and hydrate yourself. Avoid chewing gum and sweets, including those that are sugar free. Most are full of fast acting sugar, which makes you feel like eating more. As for the sugar-free versions, they contain polyols, which some people have difficulty digesting, cause fermentation, gas and bloating.
Have a relaxing break: an abdominal breathing exercise that reduces tension or a positive visualisation session. In any event, if the desire to smoke a cigarette is too strong, do not hesitate to seek help time and again so that the specialists can help you find the way of stopping that suits you.
So what about electronic cigarettes?
A real marketing success, e-cigarettes have been the subject of much debate. Studies show that this product contains proportionally fewer toxic substances than tobacco, however, no global study has certified its long term innocuousness.
Besides alcohol, the liquids contain potentially toxic chemical products that include carcinogenic molecules (acetaldehyde, acrolein, formaldehyde). As it does not contain tar or carbon monoxide, it seems less toxic than a “real” cigarette but cannot be considered a product that would help with quitting smoking.