Using Nicotine Replacement Therapy During Pregnancy

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Smoking is not advisable at any juncture of life- especially during pregnancy. Studies have shown that the incidents of stillbirth or pregnancy complications significantly increase due to smoking during pregnancy. Nicotine replacement therapy however, may be of some help to those who wish to quit and provide their unborn child with a better chance of healthy survival.

Women who successfully quit smoking before or during their pregnancy reduce adverse health risks to both, themselves as well as their fetuses. However, giving up the habit is not the easiest thing to do. In such cases, nicotine replacement therapy is administered to help with smoking cessation.

NRT and Pregnancy
In the past, health professionals have always been wary of advising NRT to their patients due to concerns over yet to be determined side effects. While there is little information on the possible effects of the therapy, most doctors now agree that it may very well be the best method for a pregnant woman to quit smoking.

The New National Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Drug Use during Pregnancy, Birth and the early development years of the newborn have laid down new guidelines pertaining to the use of nicotine replacement therapy during pregnancy. The guidelines recommend pregnant woman to at least try giving up smoking on their own before settling for external measures. However, if they fail to do so within a span of two weeks, they are recommended to undergo NRT.

The types of NRT products used by pregnant women include the anti nicotine chewing gum, patches or inhalers. These particular NRT products are chosen because of their low intermittent dosing which delivers the lowest amount of nicotine to your baby. However, in most cases, a more holistic anti addiction process is recommended. In other words, the NRT should be administered simultaneously with counseling support and encouragement of the entire medical team.

Side Effects
As for harmful side effects, NRT is classified as a Category C medication. This classification traditionally signifies medications which has proven or suspected side effects to the human fetus. However, between the cigarette nicotine and the nicotine found in the NRT, the latter is definitely the less harmful of the two. What's more, it can effectively help in smoking cessation.

However, there are some guidelines to keep in mind while using the NRT. You should ideally avoid continuing with the treatment after a maximum of two months.

So, if you're pregnant and want to quit your smoking habit, seek all the help you can get. If however, you find you're completely unable to do so within a period of two weeks, by all means opt for Nicotine Replacement Therapy. It may end up saving two lives instead of one.