by Sinit Aatifa
When you smoke, you increase your risk of future health problems such as heart disease, cancer and other lung problems. Your baby's health is also affected by your smoking.
Pregnancy's a great time to stop smoking. You'll feel better and have more energy. If you're part of the "thinking of conceiving" crowd, it's even a better time.
Smoking's been linked to fertility issues, pregnancy complications and problems for your newborn. There's no time like today to kick the habit!
• Smoking makes it harder to get pregnant.
• Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than other women to have a miscarriage.
• Smoking increases your risk of a placenta problem. The placenta can separate from the womb too early, causing bleeding, which is dangerous to the mother and baby.
• Smoking during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born too early or to have low birth weight.
• Smoking during and after pregnancy increases the chance your baby could die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
• If you smoke during pregnancy, your baby could have certain birth defects, like a cleft lip or cleft palate. Your baby is more prone to future health problems like obesity and diabetes.
According to the 2008 Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System data from 29 states, 13 percent of women reported smoking during the third trimester.
Of the women who smoked three months before pregnancy, 45 percent quit during pregnancy. 50 percent of women who quit smoking during pregnancy started smoking within six months of the baby's birth.
A recent study found that almost 22 percent of pregnant white women ages 15 to 44 smoked cigarettes within the prior 30 days, compared to just over 14 percent of pregnant black women and 6.5 percent of hispanic women.
In the U.S., 88 million nonsmokers breathe and touch second-hand smoke. Almost 32 million children aged 3 to 19 years, are exposed to other people's cigarette smoke.
• Pregnant women who breathe other people's cigarette smoke are more likely to have a baby who weighs less than if they were not exposed to cigarette smoke.
• Babies who are around cigarette smoke are more likely to have ear infections and more frequent asthma attacks than babies who aren't exposed.
• Babies exposed to cigarette smoke are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) than infants who aren't.
Today's the perfect day to start your smoke-free life. You might be using a support program or medicine to help you quit. The more support you get, the more likely you'll quit for good.
List the reasons and benefits of quitting. You could lower your risk of future health problems, have more energy and have money to spend on yourself or baby gear.
Your baby benefits by receiving more nutrients and oxygen. No smoke exposure also increases the chance your baby will go home with you from the hospital.
Make a list of your triggers. Change routines so you won't reach for a cigarette. Go for an after dinner walk or sit down with a book and a snack or a glass of milk.
Have a strong support system. Join a local group or check if your insurance company has a wellness plan.
Set a quit date. Commit to a date and stick to it. It's amazing how we can affect our own will.
Keep busy: Exercise, go to a movie, take a long walk or clean a closet.