How to Prevent Smoking Relapse After Pregnancy

How to Prevent Smoking Relapse After Pregnancy

Protecting your unborn baby from the dangers of smoking can be reason enough to stop smoking while you are pregnant. However, it may be hard not to start smoking again (relapse) once your baby is born, especially with the stress of being a new parent.

Certain people, places, and situations (called triggers) can also make you want to smoke. Knowing your triggers and making some diet and lifestyle choices can help prevent a relapse.

Talk with your health care provider if you are struggling to quit smoking or to remain smoke free.

How can smoking affect me?

If you smoke, you are at greater risk for serious health problems, including:

  • Heart disease.
  • Lung disease.
  • Many types of cancer.

The benefits of not smoking include:

  • Having more energy.
  • Having an improved sense of taste and smell.
  • Having no smoke odor or residue (thirdhand smoke) on your clothes or in your home and car.
  • Saving money from not buying cigarettes.

How can secondhand smoke affect my baby?

Smoking around a newborn baby (secondhand smoke) is harmful. If you smoke around your baby, your baby has a greater risk for:

What actions can I take to prevent a smoking relapse?

Nutrition

Right after you quit smoking, you may crave certain foods. You may really want to eat sweets. You may also feel the urge to have something in your mouth when you want a cigarette. You can make healthy food choices so you do not overeat and gain weight. Some ways you can do this are:

  • Snack on crunchy fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat whole-grain foods, such as cereals and breads, to help you feel full.
  • Eat foods that are very flavorful.
  • Do not eat sugary foods.
  • If you crave sweets, frozen treats may help. Choose:
    • Naturally sweet foods, such as frozen fruits or fruit bars.
    • Sugar-free or fat-free ice cream or sherbet.
    • Frozen grapes.
  • Keep sugar-free hard candies and gum on hand for times when you want to have something in your mouth.

Getting too hungry can lead to low blood sugar. This can trigger a craving to smoke. Make sure you:

  • Eat breakfast every day.
  • Eat regularly throughout the day.
  • Have nutritious, low-calorie snacks between meals, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low-fat yogurt.
  • Do not skip lunch or dinner.

Lifestyle

The following lifestyle changes can also help you to prevent a smoking relapse after pregnancy:

  • Get regular exercise. It may be easier to exercise for short periods of time throughout the day. Try taking your baby for a daily walk.
  • Avoid places where smoking is allowed.
  • Avoid the places where you used to smoke.
  • Avoid people you used to smoke with.
  • Take up a new hobby.
  • Find fun new things to enjoy with your baby.
  • Drink enough water to keep your urine pale yellow.
  • Get enough sleep. Rest when the baby is asleep, and ask for help taking care of the baby.
  • Practice relaxation techniques every day to reduce stress. These include deep-breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can trigger cravings to smoke.

Where to find support

For more support, go to:

Seek Additional Information

Learn more about preventing smoking relapse after pregnancy from:

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You are struggling to quit smoking or to remain smoke free.

Summary

  • The stress of being a new parent can sometimes make it hard not to relapse.
  • Knowing your triggers and making some diet and lifestyle choices can help prevent a relapse.
  • Have nutritious, low-calorie snacks between meals, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low-fat yogurt.
  • Contact your health care provider if you need help to quit smoking or to remain smoke free.