Asthma during pregnancy

inhalerAny illness that affects breathing can be more serious during pregnancy. If you have asthma, it may stay the same, worsen or improve during pregnancy. If you have moderate to severe asthma, you’re at increased risk of an asthma attack during the third trimester of pregnancy and during labor and delivery, so you and your doc need to keep a careful eye on it to keep it under control.

Poorly controlled asthma can deprive the baby of oxygen, increasing the risk of premature birth (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy), poor fetal growth and low birthweight (less than 5½ pounds). Babies who are born too soon and too small are at increased risk of newborn health problems, such as breathing difficulties, and lasting disabilities, such as mental retardation and cerebral palsy. Women with poorly controlled asthma also are more likely to develop preeclampsia, a pregnancy-related form of high blood pressure that can result in poor fetal growth and other pregnancy complications.

About 70 percent of people with asthma have allergies. Fortunately, if a woman is already receiving allergy shots, she can safely continue them in pregnancy. However, women should not start allergy shots for the first time during pregnancy because of the slight risk of a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Luckily, most asthma medicines are safe in pregnancy. A pregnant woman should never stop her asthma medicine without the advice of her health care provider because persistent or worsening asthma symptoms can pose a risk to her and her baby. Want to know more?  Read our info on asthma and pregnancy, symptoms,  common triggers and how to avoid them, treatments, and medications during breastfeeding.

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2 Responses to “Asthma during pregnancy”

  1. Beth Says:

    Thanks for this overview. I just want to let everyone know that I work for a nonprofit group at UCSD doing observational studies on asthma in pregnancy. That means we don’t ask you to take any medication (like a clinical trial) or stop taking any medication during your pregnancy. We just do a series of 4 phone interviews over the course of your pregnancy through delivery gathering information on your exposures, including asthma medications. We hope to be able to add to the research on asthma in pregnancy, to make decision-making easier for pregnant moms. If you are interested, check out the website http://www.otispregnancy.org and click on Research.

  2. Lindsay Says:

    Thanks for the info, Beth. We’re a big fan of OTIS and highly recommend your organization.

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