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Health & Pregnancy

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Smoking During Pregnancy

Can I Use a Nicotine Replacement During Pregnancy?

Nicotine gum and patches release nicotine into the bloodstream of the smoker who is trying to quit. Although these products can reduce withdrawal symptoms and decrease cravings in smokers who are trying to quit, the safety of these products hasn't been adequately evaluated in pregnant women.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend that nicotine gum and patches be considered in pregnant women only after other non-drug treatments, like counseling, have failed and if the increased likelihood of quitting smoking, with its potential benefits, outweighs the unknown risk of nicotine replacement and potential smoking.

How Will I Feel When I Quit Smoking During Pregnancy?

The benefits of not smoking start within days of quitting. After you quit, you and your baby's heartbeat will return to normal, and your baby will be less likely to develop breathing problems.

You may have symptoms of withdrawal because your body is used to nicotine, the addictive substance in cigarettes. You may crave cigarettes, be irritable, feel very hungry, cough often, get headaches, or have difficulty concentrating. The withdrawal symptoms are only temporary. They are strongest when you first quit but will go away within 10-14 days. When withdrawal symptoms occur, stay in control. Think about your reasons for quitting. Remind yourself that these are signs that your body is healing and getting used to being without cigarettes. Remember that withdrawal symptoms are easier to treat than the major diseases that smoking can cause.

Even after the withdrawal is over, expect periodic urges to smoke. However, these cravings are generally short-lived and will go away whether you smoke or not. Don't smoke!

If you relapse and smoke again do not lose hope. Of the people who quit, 75% relapse. Most smokers quit three times before they are successful. If you relapse, don't give up! Plan ahead and think about what you will do next time you get the urge to smoke.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on May 30, 2014
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