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10 steps to stopping smoking during pregnancy

Not smoking during your pregnancy significantly reduces the risk of complications. Follow these ten steps to stopping

1. Make a date to stop smoking – and stick to it. Most people who successfully quit smoking do so by stopping altogether and not by gradually cutting down.

2. To help you get through the first few days, keep busy. Throw away all your ashtrays, unopened cigarette packets, matches and lighters. Give your home a good clean to make the place baby fresh.

3. Drink lots of water. Keep a glass by you and sip it steadily. Avoid too much tea and coffee – and, of course, alcohol. Stick to water with a slice of orange or lemon, fruit juice or herbal tea.

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4. Get some exercise, but check with your doctor or midwife first. Find out if your local swimming pool has special antenatal classes. Take up yoga or other gentle exercise. The fitter you are, the healthier your pregnancy is likely to be. You'll probably find that it will make the birth easier too.

5. You may find that you experience withdrawal symptoms once you stop smoking. These are very positive signs that your body is recovering from the effects of tobacco. Headaches, sore throats and irritability are some of the common symptoms. Don't worry, they are all perfectly normal and they will disappear within a week or two.

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