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Smoking and Tobacco

Nicotine patch use for pregnant women

03/27/2001

Question:

Is the nicotine patch OK to use if you are pregnant. I can`t quit without help for the cravings.

Answer:

This is a very important question. You know that your baby is being affected by carbon monoxide from cigarettes through the blood stream. There are other chemicals in cigarette smoke that may also affect your unborn baby. There was an international conference on nicotine and tobacco treatment in Seattle March 22-25, 2001, and this very topic was discussed. Dr. Neal Benowitz, who studies how the body processes nicotine, talked about this. Pregnant women actually metabolize or process nicotine about twice as fast as a nonpregnant woman, so it is removed more quickly. The benefit of using nicotine patches in second and third trimesters needs to be considered against the risk of continuing to smoke and expose the baby to carbon monoxide and other substances. This is something you should discuss with your doctor or nurse practitioner. Since you are motivated to quit this could be an important benefit. I would also suggest that you and your health care provider can review the recent national guidelines on tobacco dependence treatment at the web link below. There is a specific section on treatment in pregnancy.

Related Resources:

Tobacco Cessation Guideline

For more information:

Go to the Smoking and Tobacco health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor, College of Nursing
Professor, College of Public Health
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University