You are probably aware of the dangers of smoking during pregnancy. If you want to quit smoking, what are your options? Nicotine gum or patches contain nicotine, although in much smaller amounts than the typical smoker ingests. The biggest benefit of these products is a reduction in the cravings, bad mood and stress associated with nicotine withdrawal.But are they safe?
Reuters reports: “Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth,” the researchers write in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “The use of NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) in pregnancy is a possible harm reduction strategy,” they add.
As part of the study, information was gathered for 87,032 singleton pregnancies. Two percent of women reported using nicotine replacement during pregnancy. Of these women, 14 percent did not smoke during pregnancy, 30 percent quit smoking during pregnancy, and 56 percent continued to smoke.
There were 495 stillbirths, 8 of them among the NRT users.
Those who used NRT had a 43 percent lower risk of stillbirth after accounting for other risk factors. Even those women who continued to smoke while using NRT, reduced the risk of stillbirth by 17 percent. Smokers who did not use NRT during pregnancy had a 46 percent higher risk of having a stillbirth.
Bottom line: Researchers believe the use of these products may be safe for some women, particularly if they would continue smoking without them. Don’t use any nicotine replacement therapy or other smoking cessation product without checking with your health care provider. They can help determine what methods of smoking cessation are safe and effective for you.