Nicotine Patches: Safe When Pregnant?

Suzanne Murray

pregnant smokerSmoking while pregnant is not safe. You know that and you want to kick the habit, but you need a little help, say, from a nicotine patch or gum. But are those any safer for your baby-to-be than cigarettes?

The answer is sort of, according to a new study published in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Researchers found that adding nicotine patches or gum to a stop-smoking treatment program tripled the number of pregnant women who quit, from 8 percent to 24 percent.

They also found that almost a third of the women who used the patch or gum had pregnancy complications, compared to 17 percent of the women who did not use it. That doesn't sound good, but the researchers say that factors other than the nicotine patches lead to the complications.

The bottom line: Talk to your doctor. Although the patch is not "absolutely safe," heavy smokers may still want to consider it given the known association between smoking and premature births and low birth weights.

(This is general mom advice and experience, but definitely check with your own health professional with any questions while pregnant.)

Does this study make you comfortable with using a nicotine patch or gum while pregnant?

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