Stopping smoking can seem daunting at first. To give yourself the best chance of stopping smoking and staying stopped, set yourself a plan to follow.
1. Set a date to quit smoking
Choose a day when you're going to quit so you can prepare for it. Make it sooner rather than later – every day you smoke is an extra day of dangerous chemicals for your baby. The night before you quit, throw away your cigarettes and ashtrays to help you avoid the temptation of 'just one more'. You may prefer to contact a stop smoking adviser or visit NHS Smokefree before you decide on a date.
2. Contact a stop smoking advisor
You can find a stop smoking adviser through your midwife or doctor, or by talking to your local pharmacy. They can talk through your individual situation with you and help you set goals and work out a plan to quit and stay stopped.
Depending on your local area, you may be able to have one-to-one support or group support from a trained advisor. It may be possible for an adviser to visit you at home or talk to you on the phone. This type of support will usually last for 12 weeks to help you through the first stages of quitting smoking.
3. Sign up to get helpful resources
Order your Quit Kit, which has stickers, information and other items to help you stop smoking. You can also ask for face-to-face support, email support and text support. You might also want to try a stop smoking app, which often give tips about managing cravings and motivational tools to live a smoke-free life.
4. Talk to your midwife or doctor
Your healthcare team can support you while you're quitting so it's a good idea to let them know your stop smoking plan. If you're finding it difficult, you can ask about the different kinds of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) available and whether one of these would be helpful for you. Licensed NRT products are free, safe to use in pregnancy and can increase the chances of quitting successfully. You can be prescribed NRT during pregnancy by a GP or an NHS Stop Smoking advisor for free.
5. Tell your family and friends
Make sure everyone knows you're quitting and ask them to help you by not offering you cigarettes or smoking around you. They can also help by distracting you when you're struggling with cravings.
If your partner smokes, tell them about the risks of second-hand smoke to the baby and ask them to quit with you.
6. Change your routine
Because you're used to smoking at certain times, in certain places and certain situations, it's a good idea to change your routine as much as you can at first so you can avoid as many 'smoking moments' as possible. If you usually have a cigarette after breakfast, for example, change the time and place of your breakfast so your routine is different. If you ate breakfast at home, for example, maybe try having it at work instead.
7. Be ready with distractions
It will be hard sometimes, so it's always good to have some ideas ready to distract yourself from wanting a cigarette. Even pausing to take a few deep breaths when you want a cigarette will help. If you can, talk to a friend. For example, when you decide to quit you could ask a couple of friends if you can call them if you get a craving. Have sugar-free chewing gum to hand, as this may help, and keep some crafts, puzzles and a good book close by to give yourself something to do.
8. Remind yourself why you're quitting
Every day you don't smoke is a day when you and your baby are free from the toxins in cigarettes. Every cigarette you don't smoke is a positive step. Be kind to yourself and tell yourself you're doing a great job. You could even try writing yourself a positive message of encouragement and putting it somewhere you look every day, such as on your fridge.
9. Find out how much money you're saving
Smoking is expensive and when you quit, try putting the money you would have spent on cigarettes aside to spend on things for the baby, such their first outfit.
You can try our smoking cost calculator to see how much money you're saving and what it could buy instead of cigarettes.
10. Treat yourself!
Make regular treats part of your plan to quit smoking. These will give you something to look forward to and help you stick to your goal. For example, you could have a massage at the end of every month. This is a great way to have quiet time for yourself, relieve any back pain and reduce stress or anxiety. You deserve an award for doing the best for your baby.