Asthma Guide
Asthma and Allergy
Asthma Causes
Asthma Diagnosis
Asthma and Pregnancy
Asthma Prevention
First Aid For Asthma
Role of Pollutants
Severity of Asthma
Types of Asthma
Role of Yoga in Asthma


Asthma and Pregnancy

One of the hardest things an expectant mother has to deal with is management of their asthma during pregnancy. Asthma is a common obstructive pulmonary disease during the childbearing age. It occurs in 0.4% to 1.3 of pregnant patients. Any parents can tell you that one of the most difficult decisions to make is what medications to use. Studies have shown that there is a greater potential risk of harm to an unborn child if the asthmatic mother does not take medications to control their asthma than the risk of harm to the fetus from the asthma medications themselves.

Effect of Pregnancy on Asthma

The effects of pregnancy on asthma aren't predictable. Your asthma may be unaffected, worse or improved in pregnancy. Sometimes asthma gets worse in the third trimester or during labor and delivery. How pregnancy will effect asthma will vary from woman to woman. The following information will provide some guidelines:

Severity of asthma during pregnancy

  • 50% asthma remains the same
  • 30% asthma improves
  • 20% asthma worsens, usually between 24-36 weeks
  • Within 3 months of giving birth, most women's asthma returns to how it was before pregnancy
  • Generally, asthma in future pregnancies tend to follow pattern in previous pregnancy

Effect of Asthma on Pregnancy

Having asthma does not necessarily mean having a complicated pregnancy but it can be reassured that their pregnancy is unlikely to suffer because of it. Some studies have found that women with very badly controlled asthma are more at risk of early labour and poor growth of the baby. With careful attention to correct medication, however, almost all young women should be able to enjoy an unrestricted lifestyle and normal pregnancy.

With proper management of the asthma and appropriate medical care during the pregnancy, most women who have asthma can experience healthy pregnancies. The key to a successful pregnancy for asthma sufferers is symptom management.

Asthma medications and pregnancy

Over the years, many women with asthma have given birth to healthy babies after using asthma medication throughout their entire pregnancy. Although asthma medications are safe to use during pregnancy, it is still advisable to discuss the type and dose of asthma medication you are taking with your doctor or your local chemist. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis and to develop a specific asthma treatment plan tailored to your individual symptoms.

Risks of badly controlled asthma when you're pregnant

If a mother has uncontrolled asthma, there is a higher risk for:

  • Premature birth
  • Neonatal hypoxia - inadequate oxygen for the cells.
  • Low birth weight
  • Perinatal mortality
  • Maternal blood pressure changes (i.e. pre-eclampsia)
Preventing asthma while you're pregnant

Acute asthma episodes endanger the fetus by reducing the oxygen it receives. It is therefore important to prevent a asthma episode during pregnancy and labour and delivery. Some tips for managing asthma in pregnancy include:

  • Consult with your doctor about the best way to manage your signs and symptoms and which medications are appropriate in pregnancy.
  • Avoid exposure to asthma triggers such as smoke, mold, cockroaches, pet dander, dust mites and pollen.
  • Avoid second-hand smoke. Both you and your baby can be hurt by second-hand smoke .
  • Take asthma medications only as directed by your doctor.
  • Exercise carefully, under doctor's supervision. Many people's asthma symptoms are triggered by exercise . Pregnant women with asthma should exercise, under the supervision of their physician.
  • Notify your doctor if your asthma gets worse despite treatment.

 
 
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