As a smoker, I always thought that taking that edge off of my nicotine cravings helped to ease my nerves by having a cigarette. The habit/addiction led my brain to believe that having a cigarette calmed me down.
It wasn’t until I started attending my smoking cessation counselling that I learned that nicotine actually makes peoples’ blood pressure and heart rate higher. In fact, the nurses in this program check my blood pressure at every appointment to make sure it hasn’t dipped too low after quitting smoking. It was insightful and a welcomed change to SEE how quitting affected my blood pressure.
While pregnant and trying to stay an ex-smoker, I tried to remind myself daily how smoking can affect my health as well as my baby’s, particularly our blood pressure and heart rate. Despite knowing this, towards the end of my pregnancy, I gave in to the cravings and fell back very temporarily to smoking. That is how badly the addiction can have a hold on me.
Then, at 37 weeks + 5 days (2 weeks ago) I went into spontaneous labour. During one of my walks around the hospital to encourage the progression of active labour I went outside to have “one last smoke”. This would be the official and very last eye-opener for me upon my return to the labour room. Once I was hooked back up to the fetal heart rate monitor, I realized my mistake and got to SEE the immediate “cause and effect” that smoking had on my unborn (but soon to be born) child. His heart rate went up from the normal 150 beats per minute to a whopping 180-190 beats per minute! I wanted to cry. Never again. Never. I am now smoke-free. If we decide to have another child, I will continue to be smoke-free and will be for a long period of time before we conceive. My baby and I are both very lucky to be in good health and I am very blessed to be home safe with him and my growing family.
So no, smoking doesn’t calm you physically. The addiction may make you THINK it does but it does the exact opposite.