Asthma During Pregnancy
posted by Jedidiah Oldham, DO | December 2, 2019
If you are a pregnant woman with asthma, you can still have a happy, healthy pregnancy. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor about how you can best manage your asthma while pregnant.
Most of the time, asthma that is well controlled doesn’t present any risks or complications for the mother or baby, but uncontrolled asthma is a different story. Complications of uncontrolled asthma can range from high blood pressure to premature delivery, and in severe cases, could threaten the life of you or your baby. Approximately one in three women will experience worsening asthma during pregnancy (usually around weeks 24 to 36), which is why it’s crucial to monitor your symptoms with the help of your doctor.
Watch for Triggers
One of the most important things you can do if you have asthma is to understand what your triggers are (i.e., what might cause your asthma to flare up) and avoid them as much as possible. During an asthma attack, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, which reduces the amount of oxygen your baby gets. Low oxygen can impair fetal development.
Talk to Your Doctor
If asthma symptoms first appear after you are already pregnant, be sure to tell your doctor immediately, as studies have shown that undiagnosed and untreated asthma attacks early on in your pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects.
Your doctor may also advise you to do the following to help control your asthma during pregnancy:
If you were using inhaled corticosteroids or getting allergy shots before pregnancy, you should be able to continue these same treatments after becoming pregnant. However, you should notify your primary care provider and your allergist so they can coordinate care. Oral corticosteroids are not recommended during pregnancy, except in cases of severe asthma attacks.
The primary goal with any treatment is to control your symptoms, maintain proper lung function and oxygen levels, and prevent asthma attacks as much as possible. While many women experience shortness of breath during pregnancy, your doctor can help you to know if it’s related to asthma and refer you for appropriate treatment.
For women with asthma, creating a delivery plan with your obstetrician is critical, especially if you end up needing an emergency caesarian delivery and will go under anesthesia.
If you have any other questions about managing asthma during pregnancy, talk with your doctor.
“Pregnancy and Asthma.” American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology.”
“Asthma and Pregnancy.” American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.” https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/asthma-library/asthma-and-pregnancy
“Asthma and Pregnancy.” American Lung Association.
“Asthma During Pregnancy.” Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.