Smoker and pregnant, why not take advantage of tobacco-free month?

The tobacco-free month, which began in early November, is an opportunity to return to the importance of quitting smoking during pregnancy. Because smoking while pregnant means inhaling more than 4,000 toxic substances per cigarette, with concrete risks to pregnancy and the health of the future baby. Details.

  Smoker and pregnant, why not take advantage of tobacco-free month?

Since November 1, the challenge has been launched to all smokers of stop smoking on the occasion of the month without tobacco. A major and important challenge, as the damage caused by cigarettes is considerable. HAS all the more reason for pregnant women, who can suffer the repercussions on the course of their pregnancy. Worse, smoking during pregnancy can also seriously impact the health of the future baby. And the more you smoke, the greater the effects. It is therefore better to quit smoking completely during pregnancy. What happens when you smoke? With each puff of a cigarette, you inhale more than 4,000 toxic substances. Carbon monoxide and nicotine in particular pass the feto-placental barrier. The baby is then less well oxygenated. The more the mother smokes, the less the oxygenation of the fetus is good and the more the effects are harmful for its development. This poor oxygenation is due to carbon monoxide, but not only. Nicotine impairs blood circulation in the arteries of the placenta and in the umbilical artery because of its vasoconstrictor effect. What are the risks of tobacco on pregnancy , and how to achieve quit smoking while expecting a baby ? Tips.

Nicotine passes through the placenta and is absorbed by the fetus, this is the passive smoking in utero. Carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke passes through the blood of the fetus and can partially deprive it of oxygen.

November, the month without tobacco

All smokers are challenged each year in November to try to quit smoking for at least a month. A first month which is the hardest, and which if successful, will have made you cross the hardest period, that of weaning, with flying colors. Several sites, including that of Public Health France , are dedicated to this operation, where you can find many tips and tricks, and various supports, to support you in this very difficult process. For pregnant women, this is a great opportunity to challenge themselves, no matter what stage of pregnancy you are in.

Pregnancy and tobacco: when to quit?

It is recommended to stop smoking from the very beginning of pregnancy , even when you want to conceive a child. Especially since smoking also affects fertility. Thus, a woman who quits smoking is more likely to get pregnant in the months that follow. When you quit smoking, the benefits are evident on all levels: less risk of miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, premature births, stunted growth, etc. If the ideal is quit smoking before you get pregnant , know that it is never too late. Quitting smoking is always beneficial at any time during pregnancy, both for the mother and for the fetus.

What are the risks of tobacco for the baby?

► Tobacco acts on baby's growth

The fetus needs oxygen to develop properly. U poor oxygenation affects its growth , and can reduce birth weight up to 300 grams, reduce its size as well as its head circumference. The brain, lungs, heart and vessels are thus affected in the event of impaired oxygenation. A team from La Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris observed that even a 'low' consumption of tobacco during pregnancy reduces the baby's weight at birth. According to the study published in the specialized journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, birth weight decreases as maternal smoking during pregnancy increases. To arrive at this result, the French researchers looked at 371 pregnant smokers . Result: the children of women who abstained from smoking during pregnancy weighed an average of 3.381 kg at birth. Women who smoked between one and four cigarettes a day during pregnancy gave birth to babies who weighed 228 g less on average than those who had completely quit during this period. A consumption of between 5 and 9 cigarettes caused a birth weight loss of 251 g. From 10 cigarettes, it was 262 g. ' These data show the extreme toxicity of cigarettes for newborns in terms of birth weight ', said in 2017 Dr. Ivan Berlin, a pharmacologist-addictologist at the AP-HP. A low birth weight predisposes the baby to health problems, especially if it is premature.

► A risk of premature delivery

The risks of premature birth and ectopic pregnancy are also increased with tobacco use. Note: Passive smoking should be monitored to avoid any risk of developmental delay.

► Tobacco and breastfeeding

Smoking also has consequences after childbirth , especially for breastfeeding women. Nicotine absorbed by the mother passes into breast milk, and the concentration of nicotine increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Quitting smoking is therefore always beneficial, even after birth. As during pregnancy, solutions to help stop smoking are authorized, in particular nicotine substitutes . So it's not too late to quit smoking. However, if you have not been able to quit smoking, breastfeeding is still a good idea. The health authorities consider that the benefit / risk balance is in favor of breastfeeding. Concretely, a child already exposed to toxic products in the mother's womb will still benefit from breastfeeding, even if the milk contains nicotine. On the other hand, you should avoid smoking in the hour before breastfeeding. Namely: women who smoke have quantitatively less milk than women who do not smoke.

► The risks of asthma for the baby

The child is at risk of developing respiratory diseases such as asthma, but also repeated ear infections or bronchitis, for example.

Passive smoking and pregnancy: what are the consequences?

The future dad smokes? It is clear, it is much easier to quit smoking when the spouse is a non-smoker or, in the opposite case, when he also decides to quit smoking. Moreover, it should be known that exposure of the pregnant woman to second-hand smoke , at home, in a party or at work, has an effect equivalent to a light maternal smoking. In fact, the toxic molecules of tobacco smoke also pass into the blood of the mother and therefore into that of the fetus. To avoid passive smoking, pregnant women are advised to avoid smoky atmospheres.

I can't quit smoking while I'm pregnant, what should I do?

Stop smoking is not so simple, even when one is aware of the risks. Indeed, nicotine absorbed while smoking is a real drug. However, the higher the level of nicotine addiction, the more difficult it is to quit smoking. How's it going ? From the lung, nicotine will bind directly to the brain in just under 10 seconds! Once in the brain, the nicotine molecules lodge on the neurons, in nicotinic receptors. The areas of the brain involved in the reward system are then activated. For the smoker, the effect is almost immediate: she feels good, less stressed, more intellectually active, etc. The only problem is that by activating this reward circuit, it becomes a habit and addiction sets in... This is the reason why it is so difficult to quit smoking, even when we are convinced and decided. Also, don't think that reducing your intake to one or two cigarettes a day is enough to lower your risk! Indeed, this kind of attitude generally leads, by a compensatory phenomenon linked to addiction, to draw more on the few cigarettes, which then become just as harmful as the 10 usual smokes. Thus, even in small quantities, tobacco is harmful to the mother and the fetus.

How to quit smoking during pregnancy?

In France, pregnant women who smoke are still too numerous. If pregnancy is often an additional motivation to quit smoking, it can sometimes be complicated. But rest assured, there are several help for dependent pregnant women. For example, some maternities offer smoking cessation aid during pregnancy . After having carried out a test to establish her level of tobacco dependence, the future mother is then taken care of individually by a doctor or a midwife. acupuncture and hypnosis can also be a solution to quit smoking. You should know that the sessions are reimbursed by social security if the therapist is contracted and you have a prescription from your doctor for acupuncture. Finally, be aware that nicotine substitutes (patch, gum, etc.) can be used under medical supervision in pregnant and breastfeeding women. In addition, the first prenatal visit, which is scheduled during the first trimester of pregnancy, either with a gynecologist or with a midwife, is an opportunity to talk about the medical monitoring of pregnancy. But also and above all your lifestyle, so smoking. Ask all the questions that worry you.

Nicotine substitutes and pregnancy

For mild addictions, nicotine substitutes can be prescribed by a doctor or a midwife, including to the entourage of the pregnant woman or who has just given birth. Patches, lozenges or chewing gum are some of the effective methods to help avoid cravings. However, given the risk of heart defects in the fetus that they can cause, drugs to quit smoking are not recommended for pregnant women . About the electronic cigarette , as its effectiveness and dangerousness are still poorly understood, it is not one of the validated methods for quitting smoking. Ask your doctor for advice if you want more information based on your needs.

Smoking cessation: what support?

Tobacconists also offer psychological support. Ideal for pregnant women who find listening and support in this approach. Furthermore, the depression is a side effect that should not be overlooked when quitting smoking in general. For a pregnant woman, the risk also exists, reinforced by the hormonal changes related to pregnancy . Another reason: authorized substitutes (prescribed on medical advice) are light. There are several ways to get support in quitting smoking. Cognitive-behavioral therapies are recognized by experts for their effectiveness in supporting smoking cessation. The therapist helps, through dialogue and exercises, a person to modify behavior or ways of thinking.

A tobaccologue from Tabac Info Service can also offer you the support that best suits your needs and your psychology: online or telephone coaching. You will also find a map to find out about all the tobacco specialist consultations near you. To seek advice from a specialist without having to travel, you can call Tabac Info Service which will offer you free personalized follow-up by its team of tobacco specialists (dependency assessment, analysis of fears, anticipation of difficulties). To find a tobacco specialist near you, consult the annual tobaccologie or contact a Tabac info service tobacco specialist on 39 89.