“My New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking.” We hear that every year and it is an admirable goal. However, quitting smoking is one thing, quitting smoking after finding out that you are pregnant is a different story. A smoker trying to quit may experience different side effects as they use the different methods available to quit smoking available. As an expecting mother, you now have double (triple or even more depending on how many babies you are pregnant with) concerns. Which products are safe? Which have less side effects? Are there any natural alternatives to quitting smoking? These are some concerns that I want to share with you along with practical tips you can follow to help you to quit smoking as healthily as possible.
Are Prescription Aids Safe To Use During Pregnancy?
Let’s begin by identifying the aids out there that are available for persons wanting to quit smoking. These include patches, pills, lozenges and other prescriptions. These may be excellent aids to try if you are the typical person looking for ways to quit but let’s be honest, as a pregnant woman do you really want to try something that lists “nausea” as the main side effect? Aren’t you feeling nauseous enough?? Let’s examine these aids and you can determine if that’s the route you want to take on your road to delivery (baby delivery that is!) Keep in mind that some below aids may be obtained without a prescription:
- Mouth Sprays
So many options but keep in mind that each have their own pros and cons. If you are thinking of trying any of the above methods, remember to always talk to your health care physician first as some medications may harm the unborn fetus. Your doctor will further discuss potential risks to your baby if you decide to use a prescription aid. With any of these nicotine replacement stop-smoking products, you will not be able to smoke while taking them.
The purpose of these quit smoking aids is to treat nicotine withdrawal and to curb the urge to smoke. Whether you try any of these methods or not, recognize that even if you aren’t able to quit smoking altogether, it may help you greatly reduce your smoking habits.
Side Effects Of Prescription Aids
As with any foreign object that enters your body, you may experience different reactions. Below are the main side effects of using the quit smoking aids listed:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, such as rashes; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever;) wheezing; tightness in chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Unusually nervous, shaky or excitable.
- Mood swings (of course that could be attributed to pregnancy hormones.)
- Feeling confused.
- Chest pain or pressure, a fast heartbeat, or passing out.
- A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Bad headache.
- Upset stomach (could also be due to your pregnancy.)
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Cold sweats.
- Blurred eyesight.
- Change in hearing.
Once again I will urge you to speak with your doctor if you experience any of the above. As a pregnant woman, you may be tempted to blame anything unusual that happens with your body on your pregnancy. But why chance it? If you are unsure, call your doctor. That is their job. That is why they went to school for so many years, interned even longer and make baby crib loads of money.
Use every support system available to you. As a first time mom, you may assume that some symptoms you are experiencing are pregnancy side effects instead of prescription side effects. Once again, feel free to ask: your doctor, nurse, other first time mothers, other smokers, the internet, me, the possibilities are endless. Do not feel that you are burdening others with your problems. Your life and that of your baby is worth a little pestering or even a lot of pestering. As the old adage goes: better you and your baby safe than both of you sorry. OK, so I just made that up, but the truth still stands: ask plenty of questions!
Quit Smoking Apps? What’s That?
Another quit smoking aid that I want to draw your attention to are apps. Yes, I said it, apps that help you to quit smoking. As far as I can tell, these apps are not necessarily designed for pregnant women that want to quit smoking but for anyone that wants to quit smoking. However, the principle is the same, helping persons break their tobacco addiction. I’ll be upfront with you, I do not gain financially from any of the mobile apps that I’m about to share with you. So why am I sharing them with you? As my “About Me (Max)” page shows, I really do want to help persons that want to help themselves. And if you can benefit from the extra encouragement gained by these mobile apps, that makes me happy, and makes baby happy too! The apps are:
- Quitter’s Circle. This is a stop-smoking app that was developed jointly between the American Lung Association and Pfizer. The cool app gives you motivating tips daily on how to ease your transition from smoking to nonsmoking. It is user-friendly and has different features that help you track your smoking habit, set realistic goals and allows you to join another community, besides us, that will support your resolutions.
- SmokefreeTXT. This mobile app is from Smokefree.gov. Once you sign up, you will receive guidance, tips, advice, and reassurance via text message when you need it most.
Quit Smoking Naturally, Better For You & Baby!
After reading the long list of side effects from prescription aids earlier, you may be curious to try using a natural alternative to quit smoking. But will they even work? Well, why not try these relatively inexpensive natural aids and see for yourself. What do you have to lose, except your smoking habit? Like any other remedy, some work better than other or affect people differently. At least you know that these methods won’t harm the baby.
First up, aromatherapy. Aromatherapy can not only help with any type of cravings or addiction, but it can also treat the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. These can include irritability, impatience, anxiety, depression, lack of concentration, lower heart rate and weight gain. That’s funny, the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are similar to the symptoms of pregnancy (and I mean this in the nicest way possible so please don’t get upset with me.)
A portable inhaler is the most common way to disperse essential oils that relieves smoking urges. The most popular and safe essential oil to use is the Black Pepper essential oil (yes that is a thing believe it or not.) It has been found to simulate the feeling you get from smoking which helps decrease cravings. When you feel like you want to smoke, inhale the essential oil filled inhaler deeply and wait a few minutes for the craving to pass.
There are other natural essential oils that you can use to quit smoking using natures medicine. I came across this essential oil blend and natural ways to reduce the craving to smoke here.
This mixture will help you remain in a tranquil state, eases cravings, replenishes you and finally, it helps with stabilizing your mood (which is a big help when you are pregnant.)
The essential oil mix contains: 5 drops clove oil, 5 drops orange, lemon, or lime essential oil, 5 drops chamomile, 5 drops helichrysum, 10 drops lavender, 10 drops marjoram and 15 drops grapefruit. Blend well and then use either a portable inhaler or a diffuser for your home.
There are other essential oils you can use that promotes serenity including lavender or chamomile. These can be diffused into the air or massaged on the back of your neck or your chest. Peppermint and lavender oils combined helps with headaches and appetite control. Finally, combining Ylang Ylang in a tablespoon of massage oil and rub into your feet before bed. Ylang Ylang oil (which is derived from the star-shaped flowers of the tropical Ylang Ylang tree) will treat anxiety and help with cravings. You can use in diffusers, as a part of aromatherapy, add in an Epsom Salt bath for relaxation or you can dilute it with coconut oils and apply one or two drops directly on skin. The Dreaming Earth Botanicals Blog also sells each of the essential oils you need at an affordable price. Natural recipes and ingredients in one place for your convenience.
Want to know more about essential oils? Download the FREE PDF on “Essential Oils for Beginners.”
More Quit Tips
I want to share with you some additional tips that have helped persons to quit smoking and that will also benefit you. These tips are safe and are easy to set as gradual, tangible goals:
- Before you decide to quit smoking, prepare a strategy. You have already taken steps to create a support team if you are reading this. Have a Plan A and if that doesn’t work, a Plan B and so on. You have approx. 9 months, let’s get to it!
- There are other persons to place on your support team, friends, family and of course the person who contributed to your condition. You can also add counselors, call hotlines, and too many online and physical support groups to count.
- Remind yourself that if you lapse, you are not a failure. Instead, use this instance to conduct a self-examination and ascertain why you lapse and what you can do to prevent it next time.
- Replace unhealthy smoking habit with healthy habits. These can include:
- Eating fruits and vegetables. These along with low-fat dairy products make cigarettes taste unappealing.
- Avoid other items that may trigger your cravings for nicotine. These can include coffee (which you should watch your intake of anyway) and certain meals, which can cause relapses. After pinpointing your triggers, you can replace them with other activities.
- Avoid situations, people or even items in your home that may remind you of smoking. Obviously you would want to get rid of your cigarettes or cigars but why not also remove your ashtrays and lighters. Clean anything that has cigarette smoke on it so that your sense of smell does not trigger the urge to smoke.
To further motivate you, let me share with you this fact that you may not know. People who quit smoking can have immediate health benefits. I had no clue that within 24 hours of quitting, a person’s blood pressure decreases. As a long term benefit, when you quit smoking now, even after you have your baby you will have less chance of a stroke, lung and other cancers, and coronary heart disease. Longer life to spend with your baby? Heck yes!
Below is a link to a website that allows you to build your personal quit plan. Yes, another freebie! After creating your personal quit plan, you can download, print, and add your quit plan to your online calendars. Remember, I do not gain anything when I share this link but you certainly do!
When you are done, let me and others know if you like this “quit plan.”
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Why Quit Smoking During Pregnancy?
I can easily throw out a ton of statistics showing the negative effects of smoking: It directly causes 30 percent of heart disease deaths, 30 percent of cancer deaths, 80 to 90 percent of lung cancers, increases the risk of developing mouth, throat, and, bladder cancer. Increasing your odds for heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. Triggering or aggravating breathing problems like bronchitis and asthma attacks. This is just the tip of the iceberg. But let’s be real, you probably already know most of this. Most people know that their unhealthy habits are bad for their bodies but still do them.
As an expected mother, whether for first time or not, want this obstacle behind you. You don’t want to spend your time worrying over if your baby will be born too early or have low birth weight. Or if your baby will be born with medical issues making it necessary for your baby to stay in the hospital longer. Or if your baby will be stillborn.
No expecting mother wants to have these concerns. You want to enjoy your pregnancy so you can move on to the more important aspects of having a baby such as SHOPPING! Babies need a ton of stuff; tiny cute clothes, socks, onesies, bottles, diapers and so on. Then you have to create a baby registry, pick out the perfect name/s, decorate the nursery. These are just a few of the activities you want to focus preparing for.
Your Baby Thanks You!
I want to end by saying that whether you are pregnant or not, smoking is a difficult habit to quit. For some pregnant women, they may find it easy to resolve within themselves to quit smoking cold turkey for the sake of the baby. Others find it more difficult. If you are among those women that maternal instincts have not kicked in as yet, do not feel guilty. Everyone quits their habits at their own pace. At the end of your pregnancy journey, when you are holding the healthy, happy new life in your arms that you created, you will look back at your struggles and know that it was all worth it!
I really hope you enjoyed my first blog here on Tips On How To Quit! Even if you are not pregnant, you may know someone who is and wants to quit smoking. Hopefully this first blog gives you a taste of what my future articles will be about. My next quitting tips online journey will continue covering tips on how to quit smoking, from recreational smokers to chain smokers and everyone in between (provided you are not pregnant.) I will go into more details of the prescription and non-prescription aids mentioned earlier and give more reasons as to why persons that want to quit should quit this unhealthy habit. Are you pregnant and ready to quit smoking? Or maybe you know someone who is? Time is running out so get help now!
Thank you for reading and let me know your opinions on the natural stop smoking tips in the comments below.
Remember, quitting isn’t always a bad thing!