I’m pregnant and my partner smokes. What can I do to get him to quit?
Secondhand smoke poses some very real and immediate risks to your baby’s health -- even when she’s still in the womb. If you’re having a hard time relaying that message, print this out and hand it to your partner so he can take a look at the facts:
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds. Many of these are toxins that are actually found in higher concentrations in secondhand smoke than in firsthand smoke. Secondhand smoke could cause low birth weight and restricted uterine growth, as well as preterm delivery. And a baby who is consistently exposed to smoke -- even when she’s still in the womb -- is more likely to die from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Okay, so now he’s convinced. Here are some stop-smoking strategies to help him out:
Telephone counseling. Most states offer free programs linking callers with counselors who can provide personalized tips and strategies -- research shows people who use telephone counseling are twice as likely to stop smoking!
Support groups. Check out Nicotine Anonymous or ask your doc to recommend another local support group for quitters.
Nicotine replacement therapies. Nicotine patches or gum can help curb cravings; plus, they eliminate the secondhand smoke factor and keep your home smelling a lot cleaner.
Prescription medications. These can be even more effective, so have your partner ask his doc for meds that could help.
Alternative methods. Some people swear by hypnosis, acupuncture and other drug-free methods. Ask around for practitioner recommendations.
Your pediatrician. Some doctors have been known to threaten parents who smoke by telling them they won’t treat their child unless the smoker promises to quit. So you can always ask your OB or pediatrician to lay on the guilt factor. Remind your partner that it’s smart to quit now so baby won’t be exposed to his secondhand smoke not only in the womb, but after she’s born too.
Plus, more from The Bump:
Is it safe to be around smokers while pregnant?
Ways to make smoking less harmful while pregnant?
What causes low birth weight?
Melissa M. Goist, MD, assistant professor, obstetrics and gynecology, The Ohio State University Medical Center