In relation to pregnancy and smoking and breastfeeding and smoking there are obviously a number of reasons to quit smoking. If you're a mother-to-be who smokes or have recently given birth and are smoking and breastfeeding and thinking about how to quit smoking cigarettes be assured that there are numerous forms of smoking cessation support available for pregnant women and mothers.
While some women continue smoking during pregnancy and afterwards without any discernibly negative effects on the baby, they have been a bit lucky. The chances of nicotine or other chemicals in cigarettes causing some form of damage to the developing baby are probably around 1 in 6 or 7, getting higher depending on how heavily the mother smokes.
The effects of smoking on expectant mothers can cause premature birth, and can also increase the likelihood of future respiratory problems for the child, such as asthma. Babies born to mothers who smoke may also weigh less than normal, and have an increased heart rate compared to others of non smoking mothers.
One of the main problems with smoking and pregnancy is that it causes a build up of carbon monoxide in the foetal bloodstream which leads to a decrease in the oxygen supply to the developing baby, which can lead to a range of birth defects, both physical and mental.
Hypnobirthing has been shown to reduce the lengths of first and second stages of labour. The first stages of labour were shortened by about 90 minutes for first time mothers and by about 40 minutes for second time mothers.
In a UK study 55% of first and second time mothers required no medication for pain relief, whereas in another group which had not used hypnosis, only 22% required no medication.
Hypnosis/hypnotherapy has also been shown to have significantly reduced rates of post natal depression.
At one time it was thought that mothers who smoke shouldn't breastfeed at all. That opinion seems to have been revised with advice to the effect that they should continue to breastfeed but make a very serious attempt to quit smoking or at least smoke significantly less. This is better than continuing to smoke and switching to a formula. Smoking and formula is the least desirable option.
Nicotine can reduce appetite and also affect the taste of breastmilk. Some babies may even refuse the breast. If the mother is breastfeeding and continuing to smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, the baby can actually show symptoms of nicotine poisoning such as increased heart rate and restlessness.
Various methods to quit smoking cigarettes such as gum and patches all of course contain nicotine but it's thought to be generally safer to use them while breastfeeding than to continue breastfeeding and smoking though chewing nicotine gum should never be done soon before breastfeeding. The worst option is to use quit smoking aids and continue smoking. Always consult a doctor about using aids containing nicotine while breastfeeding.
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