Smoking While Pregnant
Everywhere we look, we're bombarded with messages about how dangerous smoking can be.
During pregnancy, some women find it easy to quit with willpower alone. However for others, it can make an expectant mother even more anxious about smoking while pregnant. Especially if she's in an emotionally difficult situation.
In fact, graphic, upsetting ads can even be counterproductive. This is because the very anxiety making her smoke in the first place can be triggered by such ads – which are obviously not effective in helping large numbers of people to quit for good.
If you're smoking while pregnant, i’m not going to tell you:
- How bad of a mother you are (you’re not)
- How bad smoking is for you (you already know this)
- How bad smoking is for your baby (you already know this too)
… nor will I nag you to stop.
However, what I am going to do is help to dispel some myths about smoking — and quitting — as well as give you some tips that can help you to quit for good. It's likely easier than you think. Don’t believe me? Read on…
Isn't Quitting Smoking While Pregnant Hard?
People who are adamant that quitting smoking is really hard often don’t have access to the right tools. They may go to their GP and get a script for nicotine patches or other nicotine products, but how can you cure an addiction with the very drug that caused the addiction? Not to mention the awful side effects that can make it unappealing for any smoker.
Quitting smoking cold turkey seems to be simple for some people. If you’re lucky and combine it with very strong willpower you might just make it… but how long until you relapse? Most smokers take at least one attempt at quitting to actually quit. For the best, longest term outcome, the root cause of the addiction must be addressed, because bandaids have a habit of falling off.
It may be hard to believe it can be easy to quit smoking right now, because nothing else has worked for you so far. But you can stop smoking while pregnant – and it can be easy and ironically, enjoyable.
Can Quitting Cold Turkey Harm My Baby?
There is no evidence to support any claims that quitting suddenly could harm your baby. It is completely safe for you to stop smoking immediately without using any medications or substitutes. Once you see that you receive no real pleasure or crutch from smoking, it won't be stressful to stop and you'll feel wonderful as a non-smoker during your pregnancy.
Quitting Smoking – Success Rates
An article published by the Journal of Addictive Behaviours (November 2006) measured the effectiveness of different smoking cessation methods over a 12 month period and the following success rates were found:
- Cold turkey 3.4%
- Acupuncture/Laser 3.9%
- Telephone help lines 5.4%
- Nicotine Gum 5.7%
- Nicotine Patch 6.2%
- Zyban 7.1%
- Zyban + patch 7.7%
- Allen Carr’s Easyway Seminar 53.3%
The Allen Carr Easyway to quit smoking seminar has a 53.3% success rate at 12 months – and that figure increases to 75.8% for smokers attending follow-up sessions (free if the first session doesn't work).
Having a partner who smoked — and quit — I learnt a great deal about smoking cessation methods. Of all the methods, Allen Carr's is the only one I recommend to friends and family.
It makes sense, because it helps attendees to understand the real issues that got them hooked on smoking in the first place — and kept them smoking. Using willpower alone is almost certain to fail at some point. But getting informed about the psychology behind smoking helps to prevent the desire to smoke.
My disclosure is this: I have not been paid to write this article nor do I get commission if you go to Allen Carr's seminars – it's just a great program which truly works for the vast majority who attend. Simple. Helping others is what I love to do. I also have favourite books and classes I recommend for pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
So I sat up and noticed when in 2007, a fellow BellyBelly co-worker read the Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking book. After reading it, she never pick up a cigarette again. This was the very first time I heard the name “Allen Carr” and I was stunned and impressed.
So What Is The Allen Carr Method?
Allen Carr's Easyway to Stop Smoking approaches smoking from a different perspective. They don't focus on the negative reasons of why you shouldn't smoke — all smokers know this. Instead they look at why you continue to smoke despite the obvious disadvantages. Using a combination of psychotherapy and hypnotherapy, they change the way you think about smoking so you simply don't want to.
If you don't want to, it takes no willpower not to, making the whole process easy and enjoyable. Wait, quitting smoking can actually be enjoyable? Bet you’ve never heard that before!
The Allen Carr method is the most successful smoking cessation program in the world. Best of all, it's drug and chemical free, and therefore completely safe for you and your baby.
Why Is It So Effective?
One of the things that keeps smokers trapped is fear. Fear you won't be able to enjoy life; fear you won't be able to cope; fear that you'll have to go through some awful trauma to be free of it and fear that you're giving up our friend or crutch. By changing the way you think about smoking, the Allen Carr method removes the fear, and once you understand how the smoking trap works, it becomes easy and requires no willpower.
What About Nicotine Patches and Medications?
Champix (Varenicline), Zyban (Bupropion) and nicotine replacement therapy are not recommended for use by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding because of the effects they can have on the baby.
Even for someone who isn't pregnant or breastfeeding, taking these products can have many side effects including the following:
Champix – constipation, diarrhoea, feeling bloated, indigestion, wind, vomiting, stomach discomfort, headache, dizziness, sleepiness, abnormal dreams, depression, feeling tired, increased appetite, changes in taste.
Zyban – Headaches, difficulty sleeping, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting and constipation.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy – Headaches, nausea plus other digestive problems and difficulties getting to sleep.
There are no negative side effects from using Allen Carr's Easyway to Stop Smoking. In addition to this, nicotine replacements keep you hooked on the drug and therefore wanting more of it, but the main issue with these approaches is they don't change the way you think about smoking. If you don't change the way you think about it, you go through life feeling that you're making a sacrifice or giving something up, which leaves you feeling deprived, that you're missing out on something and therefore vulnerable.
How Quickly Does It Work?
It will work as soon as you put out your final cigarette. The seminar lasts for around 5 hours and you can smoke during the session. Believe it or not, by the end of the session you'll be chomping at the bit to smoke that final cigarette and will feel a sense of relief and freedom when it's done.
I’m Worried About Missing Out On ‘x,y or z’ If I Quit
When you stop smoking using Allen Carr's Easyway, the only thing you'll miss out on is bad breath, stained teeth and fingers, coughing, wheezing, lethargy and the mental anguish of being a smoker! You'll enjoy life so much more as a happy non-smoker and will not feel deprived.
I’m Worried About Putting On Weight
Weight loss is not safe in pregnancy, unless under strict medical supervision. However, those who have done the Allen Carr Method tend to find that they lose weight rather than gain weight. This is because the beliefs causing them to smoke have been addressed, and are no longer an issue – so you likely wont seek a replacement crutch.
When smokers stop smoking using other methods, they can feel miserable and deprived. So what do they do? Turn to food as a substitute to end the empty feeling. But it needn't be this way.
I'm Worried About Failing And Am Finding It Hard To Get Motivated
It's natural to feel this way, especially when previous attempts haven't worked for you and you hear the struggles that other people have. But once you understand smoking in a new way and the light bulb comes on, you'll see things quite differently.
Ever found out something you didn’t know before that became a complete game changer? Something that you wish you knew sooner? This is one of those things.
But Smoking Helps To Calm Me Down When I Am Anxious Or Stressed
What do non-smokers do to relax or relieve stress? Smoking gives the illusion of calming you down but the reality is it increases your heart rate and blood pressure whilst starving your brain of oxygen, so physically it's impossible to feel more calm and relaxed after you light up.
This is just another of the clever illusions of smoking, but once you understand how the confidence trick works, you'll feel much more calm and relaxed and be able to handle and enjoy life so much more.
But Nicotine Is Addictive! Some People Have A True Addiction And Its Not That Simple!
Its true that there is a physical addiction to nicotine, but the symptoms are so slight that most smokers do not even realise that they are always ‘in withdrawal’ in between every cigarette, even during the night. It’s an empty, insecure feeling only. There is no pain, no cramps, no sweats, and no rash – it is similar to a hunger pang or ‘that feeling’ smokers describe as needing something to do with their hands. The misery and difficulty for most smokers attempting to quit (using the usual methods) is the anxiety and fear of life without cigarettes – the belief that they are making a sacrifice or losing their best friend or crutch. This is purely a mental attitude or belief – they can even go into ‘grief mode’.
Yet, smokers can go on long flights or even enter health retreats and never experience any physical effects… but the minute they are back in the real world, they again believe that they need them.
Quitting smoking is not about willpower, but about acquiring a new mindset – the same mindset that non-smokers have. Most smokers can achieve in just one 5-6 hour session. Its all about learning a new way of being – what you don’t know, you don’t know.
What Should I Do If I Want To Stop Smoking?
Visit the Allen Carr website for more information. Allen Carr therapists were once smokers themselves, who found it easy and enjoyable to quit smoking. They understand how you might be feeling, because they've been there. With their genuine money back guarantee, you have nothing to lose just everything to gain.
BellyBelly Recommended Reading
To get a taste of Allen Carr’s methods, check out the below clip which is from a documentary about smoking on the BBC. Allen Carr shares 4 big secret myths about what keeps smokers smoking. A must watch.