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Smoking after giving birth
 
Many women make changes in their lives when they are pregnant. For example, a lot of women will eat more vegetables, take vitamins and reduce or quit smoking. After giving birth, a lot happens in a woman’s life.  It may not be easy to maintain some of the changes made during pregnancy.  
 
Some women who have reduced or quit smoking during their pregnancy feel urges to smoke after they give birth.  
Here are some reasons why cravings for cigarettes can be stronger after giving birth:
  •  If you quit for the pregnancy, you may feel that you have reached your goal and that you can start smoking again.
  • Being with people or in places that you haven’t been to since before you were pregnant can trigger cravings.
  • Caring for a newborn baby and other major life changes can cause stress that triggers smoking.  
  • Some women may want to have a cigarette as a reward for not smoking during their pregnancy.  
Read our page on Dealing with Cravings to learn how to stop the urge to smoke.
 
Some women decide to quit or reduce smoking while pregnant, but it’s important to remember that smoking affects the baby after birth too. 
Some ways smoking can affect the baby are:
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Thirdhand smoke (smoke on clothes, skin and breath)
  • Nicotine in breast milk
  • Quitting or reducing smoking is good for you too. Your body starts to heal as soon as you stop smoking.
These health benefits start right away and continue for the rest of your life:
 
20 minutes after your last cigarette
  • Your blood pressure returns to normal
  • Your heart rate drops to normal
  • Your body temperature in your hands and feet return to normal
8 hours after your last cigarette
  •  The carbon monoxide level in your body drops
  • The oxygen level in your blood returns to normal
2 days after you quit
  • Your chances of having a heart attack start to go down
  • Your sense of smell and taste begin to improve
3 days after you quit
  • Your bronchial tubes relax and you can breathe easier
  • Your lung capacity increases
1 week after you quit
  • Your body has flushed the nicotine out of your system
2 weeks after you quit
  • Your blood circulation improves
  • Your lungs are able to work better
1 month after you quit
  • You cough less
  • You are less short of breath
  • You are not as tired
6 months after you quit
  • Your stuffy nose has improved
  • Your chance of getting infections has decreased
1 year after you quit
  • Your risk of heart attack has been cut in half
5 years after you quit
  • Your risk of stroke is about the same as someone who has never smoked
  • Your risk of lung and oral cancers has been cut in half
10 years after you quit
  • Your risk of lung cancer is the same as someone who has never smoked
15 years after you quit
  • Your risk of heart attack is the same as someone who has never smoked
 
Cigarettes are expensive. Reducing or quitting smoking can save you a lot of money. You can use the money you save for other things you need or want. If you create an account on Pregnets, you can track the money you save as you reduce your smoking
 
Concerns about Weight
 
When you are pregnant, it is healthy and normal to gain weight.  Many women worry about their weight after they give birth.  Many women smoke as a way to control their weight or to lose weight.
 
Some women may think they gained weight while pregnant because they quit smoking.  Most women weigh 12-21 pounds or more after giving birth whether or not they quit smoking. There are many ways other than smoking to lose weight and keep a healthy weight. You can lose weight in a healthy and safe way by eating well and exercising regularly. Exercise and healthy eating can also help with stress and cravings. To learn more, read our pages on exercise and nutrition
 
Talk to your doctor, nurse, midwife or doula about your exercise plan after giving birth so you know what you can do and when you can start. It is also a good idea to talk about the foods you eat.  If you are breastfeeding, you should not limit how much you eat because you need good nutrition to make milk.  Some women lose weight while breastfeeding because the body needs extra energy to make breast milk.