It's been over two years now!
I fell pregnant in 2018 after three years with my partner. When the test returned a positive result, we were overjoyed and in shock. This was the beginning of the rest of our lives.
I was 29 and ready to give up the party life. I’d enjoy a couple of glasses of wine during the week and a couple too many over the weekend. I was a full-time smoker in my early twenties and struggled to break the habit as I edged closer and closer to my thirties. I’d definitely reduced my nicotine intake, but I’d always have a packet on hand when I was drinking or socialising.
In the past, I’d given up for a few months at a time but struggled to kick the habit once and for all. I knew I had to stop right away. It was also important to know that this time, I was giving up for good. I knew a lot of mothers who had taken up smoking soon after childbirth. Not me… hopefully.
My partner was a smoker too so we decided to take the first steps together. We triumphantly threw our cigarettes in the bin along with the stack of ashtrays we had on the balcony. My partner and I were mainly social smokers so it was easy enough to pinpoint times of temptation. Plus, I wasn’t drinking, which definitely made it easier to ditch the ciggies.
Smoking at any time is dangerous. Smoking during pregnancy can leave your baby more prone to illness and breathing problems. It can also increase the risks of a low weight baby, birth defects, miscarriage and stillbirth, preterm labour and death in early life (SIDS). Smoking during the first three months of your pregnancy (first trimester) increases the risks. The first trimester is also the period in which you’re asked to keep the news of your pregnancy to yourself.
I was honest with my pharmacist and midwife from the get-go and received ongoing support throughout my pregnancy. My pharmacist provided a ‘stop smoking’ plan which included a chart to show my daily milestones and the changes my body was experiencing over time. After a week, I noticed my sense of taste and smell improving. After one month, I could see my skin was improving. Two months in, my lungs were no longer producing extra phlegm as a result of smoking.
During the first few months of pregnancy, my hormones were all over the place. Often, I didn’t feel like socialising and when I did go out, I’d organise a brunch or lunch date rather than a night out.
I started practicing prenatal yoga and would meditate in the mornings. This helped me balance my mental health and control my cravings, which would only last a couple of minutes at a time. Knowing this helped me check in with myself and avoid temptation. I also kept a hair tie around my wrist to fiddle with when I felt angsty or stressed.
In February 2019, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby.
By then, I was no longer craving tobacco or nicotine. My partner and I were smitten and we’d replaced our love for ciggies with the newest member of our family.
Earlier this year, I went away for the weekend to celebrate a Hens. All of my best girl friends were going and I knew I’d be surrounded by smokers. Luckily, I’d prepared myself to avoid a relapse. I put a hairband around my wrist and stuffed my handbag with chewing gum. I also saved a photo of my family to my phone home screen to remind me how far I’d come. My friend told me just how much she pays for a pack of cigarettes now. That was enough to remove all temptation that night.
Your local Blooms The Chemist can help you on your journey to a smoke free pregnancy and life. They can support you by providing all the information you need and suggest tobacco free alternatives, including Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
Your pharmacist will work with you to create a ‘Quit Smoking’ plan to use as a guide to support you in your journey. It’s important to understand that giving up smoking will not be easy and may take multiple attempts. If you would like to create a ‘Quit Smoking’ plan, talk to your local Blooms The Chemist pharmacist.
This article was originally written and published by Nova Entertainment.