Asthma and Pregnancy - The Implications
for You and Your BABY’s well-being



Asthma and pregnancy aren’t experienced together in some women just like a number of allergy conditions improve with pregnancy. Asthma is a common respiratory illness globally that results from allergic reactions, affecting about 2% of the population in the United States and Canada. Asthma is one of the pre-pregnancy health conditions that most women have to manage along with pregnancy.

There’s generally no clear indicator of how pregnancy can affect asthma condition or otherwise, but some natural steroids produced during pregnancy are believed to help alleviate asthmatic symptoms. Some moms see their asthmatic condition improves during pregnancy, some find it aggravated while others observe no change.

However, it is possible for a woman who never had asthma or related respiratory condition before getting pregnant to have it for the first time during pregnancy.

What are the causes of Asthmatic attack during Pregnancy?

Most pregnant asthmatic moms develop acute asthma attacks because they either stop taking medications, alter the dosage by themselves or get overly exposed to asthma triggering agents. For expecting moms in this category, it’s important for you to know that most common asthma treatment medications covering cromolyn sodium, corticosteroids, beta-agonists, inhalers etcetera are safe for use during pregnancy.

In any case, you must consult your physician for any alteration in dosage when you become pregnant.

Symptoms of Asthma and Pregnancy

Preliminary signs and symptoms of mild asthma may be confused with pregnancy symptoms such as shortness of breath, early tiredness and fatigue. However, moderate to severe asthma is indicated with symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and breathing difficulty.

Asthma and pregnancy: Its implications on maternal health

Uncontrolled asthma and pregnancy related maternal complications are:

  • Asthmatic moms with complication due to pregnancy possibly experience increased risk of pre-term childbirth. In some cases, one severe attack of asthma is sufficient to cause pre-term or pre-mature delivery.
  • Development of gestational hypertension that may worsen to pre-eclampsia and eclampsia in case of acute attack of asthma.

This is because if oxygen supply to tissues is reduced, compensatory mechanisms get activated in a way that also exerts their action on blood vessels possibly leading to narrow caliber and high blood pressure. If asthma is not timely controlled, it may give rise to devastating high blood pressure.

Asthma and pregnancy: Implications on fetal health

  • Asthma is considered a serious health issue during pregnancy as a moderate to severe attack of asthma may seriously lower blood oxygen levels. This may not be life threatening to pregnant moms, but for the growing baby it may be a very serious condition.
  • Babies born to pregnant moms who have uncontrolled asthmatic attacks during pregnancy may have low birth weight.
  • Babies born to asthmatic moms are more prone to developmental delays. The demand for oxygen increases significantly during pregnancy because your baby requires it to grow and develop. Therefore, any incessant disruption of oxygen supply especially in case of chronic asthma affects the baby’s growth.

Tips of advice on coping with asthma and pregnancy

Prevention of an active asthma attack is very important during pregnancy and it’s been observed that women who have asthma under-control end up with normal, uneventful pregnancies and childbirth.

The necessity of a plan to manage asthma during pregnancy is same as that of non-pregnant state and if you have been putting asthma under control with medications, you may continue same regimen during pregnancy.

For best results, it’s advised that you:

  • See your medical doctor as well as obstetrician at regular interval for the assessment of your medical and obstetrical well-being. It’s also suggested that both your medical and obstetrical doctors should communicate and discuss your condition and medications with each other.
  • Drinking a lot of liquid to maintain good hydration is one of the natural therapies that have been reported to fairly help asthmatic pregnant moms in managing asthmatic condition during pregnancy.
  • Carefully monitor yourself and your breathing flow with peak flow meter throughout your pregnancy as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • It’s also recommended that you avoid identified agents or factors that trigger asthma in your case, such as dust, smoke, animal dander, mold, perfumes, exercise or other respiratory infections.
  • Lastly, make sure you get vaccinated against influenza virus, which is a very strong trigger for asthmatic attack in pregnant moms.

Tips on treating asthma attack in pregnancy:

In majority of expecting moms, asthma doesn’t affect the course of pregnancy including labor and childbirth, and asthma isn’t commonly associated with complications. In the event of attack, it’s recommended you take prescribed medication in good time to safeguard your baby’s oxygen supply. Don’t wait until it becomes really worse to get treatment. You can call your primary care physician as early as possible in the vent of severe asthmatic attack.

Wondering about how easy a pregnant asthmatic can survive the rigors of labor and delivery? Don’t worry! Asthma attack during childbirth rarely occurs and if you have a serious attack or condition, medications are available to alleviate the stress of labor and delivery.

With proper management, asthma and pregnancy co-occurrence is never a trouble for pregnancy progression and the well-being of any asthmatic expecting mom throughout pregnancy to childbirth.

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