Pregnant and trying to quit smoking? Good for you! But be warned: a new study has found that using nicotine gum or patches may increase your baby's chances of developing colic.
Before I say anything else, it's important to note that smoking cigarettes has also been associated with colic in babies as well as respiratory disorders and countless other ailments. So by all means, if you are pregnant and need to use nicotine gum or patches to quit, go ahead and use them. Colic only lasts a few months, but asthma and developmental disorders can last a lifetime.
OK, with that said, let's take a closer look at this study.
For the study, published in a recent issue of Pediatrics, researchers gathered information on 63,000 moms who gave birth between 1996 and 2002. About 15,000 of the moms had smoked while pregnant, roughly 1,200 had used nicotine patches or gum while also smoking at some point in their pregnancy, and 207 moms had used nicotine-replacement therapies only.
Their research found that about 7 percent of babies whose moms never used nicotine had colic. In contrast, 9 percent of babies whose moms smoked and 11 percent of babies whose moms used nicotine replacements had colic. The difference may seem minimal, but it shows that women who use nicotine gum, patches or inhalers while pregnant are 60 percent more likely to have a child with colic than moms who stayed away from nicotine altogether.
There are alternatives, such as behavioral modification therapy, that might help you quit smoking without using nicotine replacement products. If you think that would work for you, it's certainly worth a try. If not, do what you need to do to quit smoking — it's the safest bet for you and your baby.