Secondhand smoke poses some very real and immediate risks to baby’s health, even while still in the womb. If you’re having a hard time relaying that message to your partner, share a few of these 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 while in the womb is more likely to die from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Once your partner is convinced that quitting smoking is necessary for baby’s wellbeing, here are some next-step strategies for quitting:
• 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 doctor to recommend another local support group for people looking to stop smoking.
• 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 the doctor for medications 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 secondhand smoke while in the womb or after birth.
Expert source: Melissa M. Goist, MD, assistant professor, obstetrics and gynecology, The Ohio State University Medical Center