You smoke? … But aren’t you pregnant?

Almost six years ago was when my roller coaster with smoking and pregnancy began. After only a few months of dating my husband we found out that I was pregnant with our first. Scared, excited, stressed out, off we went to the doctors to confirm it was true. Well it was definitely true! And there was when the dreaded question began… “Do you smoke?” (Every time I went to the doctors from this point on, smoking would become a major discussion) “yes” I mumbled reluctantly. From that moment on I felt that the doctor was doing nothing but judging me, regardless of what she told me. She asked me if I knew the side effects of smoking while pregnant, and even though I told her that yes I was indeed aware of the unfortunate effects it could have on my baby and pregnancy.

I tried my best to not smoke as many in a day, thinking to myself that I would gradually just cut down until I quit. There was always an excuse though. I had no other way (or so I thought) to deal with my stressors, and believed that having a cigarette was actually solving something. Of course, it was not.

At first it was easy to hide as I wasn’t showing very much, so people did not even realize that I was pregnant. Then, as people started to hear that I was pregnant or notice I was getting bigger, I got many dirty looks, and rude comments. Of course I knew that I shouldn’t have been smoking, but I had also convinced myself I may shock the baby if I just quit out of nowhere. So that is what I used to justify it. I did not believe that I actually had any support behind me if I chose to quit, so I did not bother.

Through my second pregnancy I smoked through out and did not even try to quit. I used the excuse that my previous pregnancy had ended in preterm labour (surprisingly, not smoking related) and I was too stressed out that something was going to go wrong again so I did not want to risk adding the added stress. Yes, I just said I did not want to quit because I was too stressed about possibly going through losing another baby… CRAZY right?! Well it didn’t seem that crazy to me at the time. Thankfully I got through that pregnancy fine. My daughter was a few weeks early, and a little small but healthy over all.

My next battle with continuing to smoke was breastfeeding. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and that this was something that I felt strongly about. I was told that breastfeeding was still better to do, even if I was a smoker. So here I was, being told that it was still okay to smoke while breastfeeding. So why would I worry about quitting? I didn’t.

I breastfed my daughter until she was 14 months. I had learned to smoke right after I was finished breastfeeding so it wasn’t right before, or during. When I finally got pregnant with my youngest, I genuinely tried to quit smoking. When my husband wouldn’t quit with me, I figured there was no point because I could not possibly quit if he was still smoking. I continued to smoke throughout my whole pregnancy. As I explained in my previous post, I smoked right until the night I went into labour.

As people found out that I had quit, most people would congratulate me, tell me that they were proud of me and ask how I could possibly do it with my husband still smoking. Although, not everyone was supportive. In my next post, I’ll talk a more about this and what it felt like to receive this negative feedback.

Has there been anyone around you been unsupportive on your quitting journey?

13 thoughts on “You smoke? … But aren’t you pregnant?

  1. I have to ask, and please don’t take this as judgement, because it’s absolutely not, but did any of your children experience any issues due to your smoking with them in the womb?
    I ask because I’m a smoker (probably about 12-15 cigarettes a day) and that’s one of my huge concerns about getting pregnant when the time comes.
    You voiced my exact worry about weighing the risks vs benefits for the stress of quitting vs the possible damage to my child.
    Of course, ANYTHING AT ALL that we read about smoking during pregnancy is all torches and pitchforks, and “you’ll kill your baby!”, however I’m not 100% sure on the actual severity of the issue. I don’t doubt that there COULD be problems, but considering you’re a woman who has smoked while carrying, I really would love to hear how you think it affected your children if at all, and if you think your children would have been better or worse off for the stress of you quitting?
    I feel it’s best to ask you, because of course the non-smokers would be adamant on the side of “DON’T DO IT!!” even without experience to speak from.

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    • I am definitely not offended, and appreciate your question very much!
      My daughter was born at 37 weeks, weighing in at a very petite 5lbs 8.5oz. Her low birth weight was likely due to my smoking. After she was born, it was not long before we realized that she suffered from colic. We adjusted my diet to see if something I was eating was affecting her through the breast milk, nothing made it get any better. I was told that because I smoked during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding… that could have been the cause of it. At 6 months old she began having terrible ear infections. These continued for 2 years. Although my husband and I both suffered from ear problems as children. This is also something that could have been caused by my smoking. Now, almost 5 she is a very smart, tall, healthy girl. As of right now, there do not seem to be any issues with her that would be related with my smoking.
      As for my son, he was born at 38 weeks and as of right now we have not noticed anything at all. I have to say I did smoke quite a bit less while pregnant with him, so maybe he was not affected the same as her due to that? Not sure.
      I personally wish I had quit sooner. I haven’t had any DRASTIC consequences with myself, or my children as of yet, but it still would have been nice to have them in a completely smoke free environment from day one.
      I am of course not a doctor. I cannot tell you to quit, nor can I tell you that it will be safe if you smoke through your pregnancy/while breastfeeding… or when your children get older! Some people will find that NOTHING at all happens, and others will have unfortunate consequences.

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  2. They say smoking stunts a baby’s growth, but my brother is now 6’6″. He’s probably the product of good prenatal vitamins, but I don’t think everyone is as badly harmed by it as they say. His now-wife was told that her first miscarriage was because she shocked the system by quitting suddenly. The doctors recommended just cutting down as far as possible, slowly, so that nothing is too drastic. The good outweighs the bad, you know?

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    • Smoking can stunt a baby’s growth. Doesn’t mean it will always happen though. Who knows, maybe he could have been even taller? Prenatal vitamins are definitely important through pregnancy whether smoking or not. That is very unfortunate about their miscarriage, I am sorry to hear that. But just as not eveyone will have their growth stunted, not everyone would have a miscarriage for quitting suddenly. Cutting down slowly is a good way to help slowly get the nicotine out of your system. Some doctors do not believe at all that you can suffer a miscarriage for quitting cold turkey, and recommend it once they find out you are smoking and pregnant. EVERYONE will have different opinions/stories about both sides.

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  3. […] of you who have not read my previous posts, there is one discussing my journey with smoking while pregnant and also while breastfeeding. But I have also discussed when I quit. I had no plans to quit when I […]

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  4. […] she did try to cut back for health reasons.  This is a subject that I touched on in my post “You smoke?… But aren’t you pregnant?“.  I had a couple of comments on that posting as well about whether or not my children had […]

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    Like

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