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Quit Smoking During Pregnancy with Less Stress

Stress is a common way to react to life events. Your body may become tense, your mood may shift, or you may feel worried. Stress is one of the biggest reasons people smoke. But you can let go of stress without lighting up. Do something else instead. Relax. Think about something nice. Exercise or lighten your outlook. The urge to smoke often passes in a short time.

Learn to Relax

This process helps get the kinks out of your body. Just tighten and release your muscles. With practice, you can relax any time you feel tense. Repeat these steps with different muscles from head to toe.

 

woman sitting in chair

1. Get Ready

Set aside 15 to 20 minutes in a quiet place. Sit or lie down so you feel at ease. Loosen any tight clothing. Take off your shoes and glasses.

 

woman sitting in chair, eyes closed, focusing

2. Focus Your Mind

You can choose any part of your body. Try your right hand to start. Close your eyes, and see your hand in your mind.

hand clenched in a fist

3. Tighten Your Muscles

Make a fist with your right hand. Really clench your fist for 10 to 15 seconds. Try squeezing until your hand shakes a little.

 

hand with fingers spread out, relaxed

4. Let Go and Relax 

Release the fist. Let go of the muscles and feel the tension melt away. Your muscles should feel heavy and warm.

Pull Up a Picture

We all need to get away once in a while. Thinking of a nice place helps you escape. Whether you’re waiting for the laundry to finish or just taking a break, the steps below can work:

  • Sit or lie down so you feel at ease. Close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths.

  • Bring a picture, word, or thought to mind. Hold it there. If you choose a place, try to hear, feel, and smell it.

  • Other thoughts may enter your mind. Let them pass by like clouds moving gently overhead.

  • When you’re done, breathe deeply, and slowly open your eyes.

Exercise

Add a few active minutes to your day. Using your lungs more may make you want to smoke less. And even mild exercise clears the mind, burns calories, and tones muscle. Also, the fitter you are during pregnancy, the easier your recovery is likely to be after the birth. Talk to your health care provider before trying these tips:

  • Park away from the building and walk.

  • Stroll around the block.

  • Swim.

  • Use the stairs.

  • Take an exercise or stretching class designed for pregnant women. Or try an entry-level yoga class.

Lighten Your Outlook

Certain feelings can trigger a strong urge to smoke. Try these tips to help you lighten your view of life:

  • If you’re bored, get active. What needs to be done before the baby is born? Pick a name. Find a crib.

  • If you’re tired, take a nap. Put your feet up and rest.

  • If you’re angry, count to 50. Then deal with the cause of your anger.

  • If you’re frustrated, take a 10-minute time-out. Write down the problem, or talk it over with your partner or a friend.

  • If you’re worried or afraid, sing out loud.

Online Medical Reviewer: Dolan, Mary S, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Morell, Patrick W, MD
Last Review Date: 12/22/2011
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.