Asthma is a lung disease that causes your airways to tighten up, making it hard for you to breathe. Asthma affects 4 to 8 out of every 100 pregnant women (4 to 8 percent). If you keep your asthma under control, it probably won’t cause any problems during your pregnancy. So, it’s really important to keep all your prenatal care appointments and work with your health care provider to keep your asthma in check. If you don’t control your asthma, you may be at risk for a serious health problem called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a certain kind of high blood pressure that only pregnant women get and can result in poor fetal growth and other pregnancy complications.
Your health care provider needs to monitor your lungs while you’re pregnant so he can adjust your asthma medicines, if needed. Tell your provider if your symptoms improve or get worse. By limiting your contact with allergens and other asthma triggers, you may need to take less medicine to control your symptoms.
Lots of women ask if it’s safe to take asthma medicine during pregnancy. If asthma symptoms don’t stop or get worse, they can be a risk to you and your baby. If you were taking asthma medicine before pregnancy, don’t stop taking it without talking to your provider first. If you’re diagnosed with asthma during pregnancy, talk to your provider about the best way to treat or manage it.
If you’re already getting allergy shots, you can keep taking them during pregnancy. But if you aren’t getting allergy shots, don’t start taking them when you’re pregnant because you could have a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Asthma symptoms often change during pregnancy. Sometimes they get better and sometimes they get worse. We don’t really understand what causes these changes. If your asthma is not well controlled or if your asthma is moderate to severe, your provider may recommend repeated ultrasounds to check to make sure your baby’s growing normally.
Only about 1 in 10 pregnant women with asthma (10 percent) have symptoms during labor and birth. Take your usual asthma medicines during labor and birth. If you still have asthma symptoms, don’t panic, your health care provider can help control them.
Want to know more? Read our info on asthma during pregnancy, that includes symptoms, common triggers and how to avoid them, treatments, and medications during breastfeeding.