An Article by Dr. Dorienna Alfred

Pregnancy represents a time of change. In addition to the physical changes in your body, the most notable adjustment that you will make during pregnancy is the attention and focus that you give to your health. Starting a regimen of prenatal vitamins and other supplements will be a focus of initial appointments. This is in addition to continuing treatment that you are already engaged in to manage health issues you had prior to pregnancy. Depending on your health profile, you may require more appointments than you expected, which means changes to your schedule and routine. Most likely, you will also be asked to consider modifications to your diet and possibly your activity level.

Out of all of the things that you will be asked to make, one of the best things you can do during your pregnancy is quit smoking and/or vaping nicotine. Each of the aforementioned health goals are important but quitting smoking can help save lives and improve the overall health of you and your baby. Now we know pregnancy can also be a time of great stress, and for some smoking is a coping strategy. In future postings, we will share more about strategies and tips, but for now, let us consider some of the health benefits for you and your baby if you quit.

  • You gain a sense of accomplishment and empowerment that you have taken an important step in improving your overall health.
  • You can increase your life expectancy by as much as 10 years.
  • You decrease your risk for certain cancers, lung diseases, and heart diseases.
  • You lower your baby’s risk for preterm birth. Complications experienced from a preterm birth can result in significant health issues in your baby and create undue stress for you as a parent. Emotional, financial, and employment stress are common for those who have babies with complications during and after birth.
  • You decrease the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). This condition is more prevalent in babies whose parents were smokers
  • You lower your baby’s risk for asthma and other respiratory conditions.

We know it may not be an easy thing to accomplish, but we will support you along the way. As you consider what it might take for you to start this process, remember that no matter how difficult, quit is best for all. Start your journey today by accessing free resources at https://smokefree.gov.

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking

http://women.smokefree.gov/pregnancy-motherhood/quitting-while-pregnant

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