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Smoking

I sure hope you guys won't judge me too harshly. I am having a huge problem with cigarettes. I am going through a really stressful time, we are building a house and praying it is done before baby gets here etc, although that is no excuse. My husband would KILL me if he knew I was doing this. I will go to the store and buy some and smoke one and feel so bad and pour water on them and throw them away and a few hours later I am back at the store doing the same thing. This poor baby doesn't deserve this and I get sooo mad at myself but I keep doing it. All my neighbors know I am pregnant so I hide in the backyard. Obviously I am totally ashamed but I just won't stop. I am hoping you guys will tell me all the terrible things this could do to the baby and I will stop. Please be easy on me.

Thanks
Ginger
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Okay, you seem to be conflicted (I am not judging you, it's just an observation).  You want us to tell you the horrible things that you are doing, but also to take it easy on you.  But that makes sense since you are doing something you know is bad for your baby but want to get help.

I admit I am a rabid anti-smoking person -- pregnant or not -- but I will keep that in check here so I can try to help you.  And to be honest, I think it was VERY brave of you to even voice this problem here.  That took a lot of guts and shows me you really want to stop this habit.

First of all, how far along are you?  If you are in your early stages, then as bad as smoking is at all during pregnancy, you hopefully can nip it in the bud and taper your use down quickly enough to avoid any major problems in the long run.  My friend (neighbor) was smoking at the start of her pregnancy but she told me (although a mutual friend says she wasn't telling me the truth) that she had gone down over the course of a few weeks to nothing at all.   Our mutual friend said she believes she smoked through her pregnancy but just hid it from me because I hate it so much.  This same friend went through tremendous stress about 8 months later when they sold her house and "went back to smoking."  Our mutual friend says that it was just a way of her not having to hide it anymore since she was probably doing it all along, and used the stress of a new house as an excuse to give up pretending.

My mom was hypnotized to stop smoking and it worked.  After she saw the doctor, she would chew on coffee stirrers to cure her oral fixation and she said that helped a lot.  I don't know where you live, but in New Jersey (I live in NY but I see these ads on TV all the time), there is a service that runs a toll-free hotline for people needing help with quitting to call and get good tips on how to stop.  Maybe there is something like that in your area.  I think it is called New Jersey Quit Line or something like that.

I am not a counselor but I think seeing someone about this to LET OUT THE STRESS THAT IS CAUSING YOU TO BUY THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE is a good idea.  Maybe if you get this stress verbalized instead of bringing it in to your body (in the form of smoking), you can conquer this problem.

Now, also, (not to be harsh but I have to say this), do you really think you are fooling people?  Anyone who doesn't smoke themselves can smell someone who has smoked a mile away.  It is on their breath, on their clothes and in their hair.  Chewing Altoids and changing your clothes don't cover it up.  Unless you jump in the shower each time you do this, you can't get it out of your hair.   You're just fooling yourselves.

As far as what smoking is doing to the baby, you seem to know that it is horrible for the baby.  Think of where that smoke (and carcinogens) goes.  Right into your lungs, which is where the baby gets his/her oxygen from.  Their lungs are not mature enough to get that on their own.  I believe (and I may be wrong) that there is a risk of prematurity.  But again, I am not sure about that.

Maybe this will help -- if you take a moment to count to 10 before you buy the cigarettes, the craving may pass.  Right after you count to 10 say something OUT LOUD (I am not yelling at you, just emphasizing my point) like "I love my baby.  Smoking is very harmful for my baby.  I don't want my baby to smoke so I can't smoke" (Not to mention after it is born -- it is also very harmful and the major cause of ear infections).  Maybe in the 30 seconds it takes you to do this, you can get your mind onto something other than buying the cigarettes and smoking one.  Instead of smoking, go for a brisk walk.  That is better in a lot of ways and helps with the stress too.

I remember when I was a child, my mom had told me she quit (long before she was hypnotized).  I came into the den late one night about two hours after I had gone to bed.  She never expected me to come out of my room.  I caught her smoking and startled her so much by bursting into tears that she reflexively threw her hand up in the air and threw the cigarette.  If it had landed on the couch, the house could have gone up in flames.  To this day I felt extremely betrayed by her and hurt and still dream that she goes back to it (although I am in my late 30's.)  If she did go back to it, I would have a huge problem with it.

My point here is that you are keeping this from someone -- as you said, the very least being your husband.  He will feel very upset if he knows you have been doing this behind his back.  Maybe (and only you can make this decision) you could confide your problem to him so it is out in the open and you can ask him for help diverting your stress and talking you out of it.  He will have a huge incentive to help you to stop.

I hope I have helped a little bit without being too judgmental.  Good luck.

Lisa

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Hi Ginger, I have never been a smoker and really do not understand the urge a smoker feels.
My first baby I had I was hospitalised due to complications. I was on bedrest for 12 weeks and did everything that I was told to do. My baby was born and had to have surgery due to being born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. He nearly died and his prognosis was very poor. But he did very , very well and surprised all who cared for him.  I also want to add he was a twin and his twin died and he was also my 5th pregnancy. I truly believe that if I smoked he wouldn't of had the good outcome he did.
Smoking is obviously not good for your baby it can increase the chance of SIDS and your baby can be born small. Asthma has been directly linked to babies who's mothers smoked during pregnancy.
Please try to stop for your baby's sake. I understand it is hard , but this babe can be your incentive.
I would also like to add that I also went on to have another successful very uneventful pregnancy and am now expecting a 3rd.
  Take care Ginger and take one day at a time. Try your hardest to give them up! Think of how beneficial this would be for your baby.
Hugs Lilly.
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Discuss this issue with your doc.  They can offer you good stop-smoking advice and help.

You really should try.  Smoking elevates your levels of carbon monoxide in the blood stream--you wouldn't deliberately go to your garage and breathe in fumes from your cars exhaust, would you?  

I don't judge b/c my husb used to smoke.  It was hard, but he stopped.  If you can't quit, cut down--doesnt sound like you are smoking much, anyway, so should be easier.
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Hey.  I just want to tell you that you are so brave to be honest.  I know it's very hard to quit smoking.  Let me just say first of all that it's VERY important for you to quit.  Also, be honest with your doctor if you are smoking.  There ARE risks associated with smoking even though people do smoke throughout their entire pregnancy and their babies often come out fine.  But, it is NOT worth that risk.  When you smoke, there is a higher risk of miscarriage, there is a higher risk of placenta previa...AND when you deliver your baby believe it or not (I work in Labor and Delivery and spend MANY nights with nicotine addicted babies in the nursery going through nicotine withdrawls) your baby WILL be addicted to nicotine if you continue to smoke.  It's heartwrenching to take care of babies who are fussy fussy fussy and small and going through nicotine withdrawls.  The important thing is your wanting to quit.  I would suggest being honest with your hubby too...he can help you and support you through this...and your doctor too.  I wish you tons of hugs and lots of support in quitting and you will feel SO much better if you do! If you need to talk or anything feel free to email me ***@**** you are NOT alone! (((((HUGS))))))
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Excellent points, Kellie, but I expect nothing less from you!! :)

Lisa
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Hi there..

I agree- Call your doctor / a local health clinic if you want to be more anonymous... Tell them you're pregnant and are having a hard time quitting smoking.. There are so many people / places ready to help. (I even saw a commercial w/ an 800 number on TV about this)

Congrats on having the wherewithall to know you need to quit.

-Heather
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First of all are you addicted or is this just something you do once in a while?  A craving lasts 3-5 minutes after that the craving is 100% mental.  That is the addiction is which you have to beat.  It's the physical act of putting the cig to your mouth X amount a times a day.  After 72 hours, some websites report 48, all nicotine/poision is out of your body.

So to make it simpler for you just stop for 3 days then your body is no longer addicted and you can beat mental addiction by using the baby as your justification. Within those 72 hours your sense of smell and taste start to return. It's pretty amazing.  You can ask your doctor about Zyban too.  It's basically Wellbutrin in a different dosage.  See if it's safe to take. I'm sure they'd want you to try alternative methods first, but if you just can't stop ask about it.  I used it and it worked (not while pregnant though).  I had a few cravings but just kept telling myself no way and that I was stronger than it was.

In the beginning stages of pregnancy the harm is relatively low. Once that heart is beating the risks go up.  Be good to yourself and your baby.  Try your best to quit.  Check out this website too.  www.quitnet.com

They have chat all the time for people quitting, quit, and thinking of quitting. It also calculates money saved and hours of your life (that you'd spend smoking) saved.  The money thing is an incentive!  Just think with each pack you don't buy you could put that money away for baby's college or something for yourself.  It's worth it. There are tons of facts/ideas on that website that will help you. Staying away from other smokers helps too. One thing to remember....no matter how long you have "been quit" (terminology they use on that website) the urge is always there. In about 6 months you will probably not have them often but you have be aware of "trigger" situations and don't place yourself anywhere near them. Like for expample....You smoke in the hiding in the backyard (lol..closet smoker!) so don't go back there if you can help it for a few days.  Starlight mints (sugar free) also helped. Cinnamon gum also a big helper.  Just some suggestions.

Good luck. It is a battle but you're worth it. Check out that site and read it over. Wealth of info there to help and support you.  It's hard, trust me I know :  )  

Heather
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I reread my post and parts seem unclear....

After 72 hours you are no longer physically addicted.
Your body no longer craves or needs the nicotine.(It will all be flushed out. Drinking tons of water helps to flush it out) It's our mental addiction that tells our body we need it. That is how so many return to smoking. They can't beat the mental part. Telling the difference between a physical craving and a mental craving is easy if you know what to look for.  

I only took Zyban for 3 days then quit then another 3. The directions say a 6 to 12 week regime....no way. Not necessary. I smoked for 10 years. Started a teenager. Put them down one day and that was that.  Now if I could just get my husband to quit. He quits then makes excuses to justify why one wont hurt....geez!

Good luck!

Heather
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It might sound naive and stupid just because I've never smoked and I don't know what you have to go through, but why don't you try to eat something when the urge hits.  Like a candybar, or something that satisfies you and gives you pleasure.  Well, there is nothing else I can add, everything's been said, but why start your baby's little life in a womb full of smoke?????
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Hi Guys!! Thanks for the tough love. I do that exact same thing, I can quit for 6 months then I think I will do it for one night just for "fun" as soon as I got pregnant with my 3 year old I put them down with no problem whatsoever and this baby deserves nothing less. I honestly don't think I am actually addicted, I just get to feeling stressed and think just one or two will help and all it does is give me a headache and make me feel really guilty. when I see big pregnant women smoking I get sooo mad and now I am doing the same thing although I am only 13 wks it is still just as bad in my mind. I haven't done it today so I already have 24 hours under my belt. when I feel tempted I will read all of your notes. thanks guys alot~~~
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It is easy for people who have never smoked to come up with all these great and "easy" ways to quit smoking. Reality dictates that we are all different. Some smokers can put down the pack and never look back, then there are some that lose their lives fighting that addiction. In more than one instance, nicotine addiction has been shown to be more powerful than even heroine!

I have struggled with being a smoker since I was 10 (didn't start inhaling until 12) and I am now 25. I have quit several times over the years, but always find my way back. I grew up in a house with a parent who smoked. One vow I have made and kept is that since I have been on my own (left home at 14) I have NEVER smoked inside my house. Not once, no matter how cold or hot it is outdoors. That has dramatically cut back on my smoking and ensures my son never has to deal with that.

I don't smoke in my car either, that was a huge habit to break. I have spoken with every single OB I have had for every pg I had one for and they have all told me the same thing. Cut back! Quit if i feel I can but do my best to cut back. Even cutting back to 3 a day will be a huge inprovement. I haven't smoked more than 1/2 a pack a day for years, when pg with my son I smoked 2-3 a day. I was lucky, he was a big boy and very healthy (the only problem he had at birth was a heart defect, but that is genetic, passed down from dh)

Guilt works for some, but not for others. Being judgemental is not going to help anyone quit, it will just drive them away from receiving support they desperately need. WE all know what it can do, but that doesn't make it any easier to quit. WE have to make the conscious decision to quit, not because we want to impress someone else, but because we want to. I will say, I do think that you need to tell your spouse. I was always open with my dh about it (he is also a smoker so he doesn't make me feel like it is something that is just a piece of cake to stop, he knows it is hard) He knows that I have cut way back before and that I will again. In fact, I think I have had 1 cigarette in 12 hours (I have been so sick that not even compazene is helping my m/s) So anything in my mouth triggers the gag reflex!!

So, if y'all feel you must condemn and judge, don't bother. I will turn a blind eye to it because these are demons i must battle on my own (though for not much longer, the idea of it makes me gag and Wellbutrin helps a ton, serves a dual purpose in my case)

Andrea

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Andi,

I don't think any of us have judged at all...I think if you re-read our posts, we have all been very positive and encouraging towards her.  So I am very surprised by your post, which implies that we have been too harsh.

Lisa
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An interesting thing about smoking is, the younger you start, the harder it is to quit.  There seems to be a window of addiction that is open up to about 15 years old.  If you smoked before that time, it will always be very difficult to quit.  I smoked for 10 years, but didn't start until I was 20.  I quit relatively easily, and never crave them anymore.  My husband started when he was 13 and really struggles with quitting.  He's quit several times (bless his heart) but he stays on nicotine patches for weeks to accomplish it.  And then when the stress hits, back he goes.
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I think that is great that you have gone 24 hours without smoking and you should be extremely proud of yourself.  As I said, the very fact that you came on the board with such a touchy subject speaks volumes to the fact that you are really looking to kick this thing.  I am proud of you and wish you absolutely the best of luck.

It's true, I have never smoked -- nor done anything to excess (except maybe micromanage and be neurotic!) but I can appreciate it just from living in a house with my mother who did have trouble quitting over the years (and then finally having success with the hypnosis).

I commend EVERY woman who has had to give up anything unhealthy for her baby!

Lisa
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Wow!! Thanks It is so much easier coming from someone who has been there!! While I appreciate everyone's response (and didn't feel anyone was too harsh) someone who has never smoked simply can't understand where I am coming from. I didn't think anyone was like me in that I have not smoked in my house or in my car for 10 years. I have a 3 year old and simply don't want him to be around it at all!! So anyway Thanks Andi and Thanks everyone !! It has now been over 24 hours so I think I can do it!!!
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Not that my implication was that you had been too harsh Lisa, but I see the tendency to do so on this board. These are demons that are tough enough to struggle with, without someone else tearing us apart. Trust me, if it were that easy to set it down and walk away, don't you think everyone would? : )

I have also heard the very same thing, Casey. Very surprising to hear you started so late, that is almost unheard of. I wish anyone who smokes the best of luck in quitting, not only for your sake, but for that of your unborn baby.

My intention with my first post was not to condone smoking, but at the same time is not to condemn you for doing so. If you ever need any support, please email me AndiJ.***@****

I also have some great tips on quitting and cutting back if you feel that cold turkey may not work for you.

Andrea
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Hopefully you will be as fortunate as I am this pg. With all of my previous pregnancies, smoking never made me sick, in fact with my son it seemed to help the nausea (bad thing) But with this pg, the idea of lighting up makes me gag!!

If it doesn't for you, there are many little tricks to help you though. Please let me know how you are doing and if you need any help. I will be happy to help.

Andrea
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