Asthma and Pregnancy

Asthma and Pregnancy

If you are one of the many women that suffer from asthma, you may be concerned about how this ailment of yours will affect your unborn child. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a problem. With the varying types of treatment nowadays that are available for asthma control, an expectant mom can effectively control any type of problems that may occur during pregnancy. That said, if you do suffer from asthma and you are not controlling it with any type of treatment, it very well can have an effect on your baby.

Since asthma effects the lung functions of the mother, it can then have an impact on the amount of oxygen the baby receives. If you aren’t receiving enough oxygen, your baby isn’t either. Not only can it cause problems with the baby, it can create pregnancy issues as well.

How Will asthma affect me during pregnancy?

Risks to an expectant mom include:

  • Hypertension
  • Preeclampsia, which is a leading cause of high blood pressure
  • More than normal vomiting (morning sickness) in early pregnancy
How will asthma affect my baby?

Risks to an unborn child include:

  • Smaller babies and low birth weight due to slower growth. This is caused by the decreased amount of oxygen.
  • Preterm labor (before 37 weeks) and birth
  • In the worst case scenario, death
Types of asthma

As with any medication during pregnancy, you may be concerned about the effects it will have on the baby. When it comes to asthma drugs though, the benefits on taking the drugs and controlling asthma, outweigh any risks to the baby. It is more important that both you and the baby get the necessary amount of oxygen. There are various types of asthma medications out there, so consult your doctor to find out which one would be best during your pregnancy. The best thing to do is have these asthma controls in place before you start trying to conceive. Your doctor will not want to start switching medications during your pregnancy in case you have a reaction to any new treatment.

Some types of asthma control are:

  • Rescue inhalers – These provide fast relief during an asthma attack through an inhaled spray.
  • Prevention inhalers (steroid inhalers) – Prevent symptoms from occurring to begin with through daily use.
  • Oral steroids (for example, prednisone)
What extra steps will my doctor take during my pregnancy?

The first two types of treatment (inhalers), only allow a small amount of medication to reach the baby. Oral steroids will have more of a direct impact on the baby and should only be used when necessary. One of the best ways to control your asthma is to avoid any such triggers that may bring on an asthma attack. A lot of asthma sufferers also have allergies, so it helps to keep them in control as well. There are plenty of allergy medications that are safe to use during pregnancy, so ask your doctor which ones are recommended for you.

Asthma triggers may include:

  • Tobacco smoke/second hand smoke
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Animal dander
  • Illnesses such as the cold and flu
  • Exercise

Your doctor will monitor you closely during your pregnancy to make sure that the baby’s growth is right on track. Your doctor will frequently check on your lung function, which is done through a spirometry test. This test measures the amount of air you are able to exhale.

If you do experience any asthma symptoms/attacks, your doctor will want to know right away. They will want to check up on the baby to see if their have been any effects. This will most likely be done through an ultrasound.

In most cases though, your pregnancy should go by quite normally and without any worries. Just take some extra good care of yourself and make sure you take all your asthma medications as directed.

Other References:
http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/14332_55186.asp
http://www.webmd.com/asthma/tc/asthma-during-pregnancy-topic-overview

Asthma and Pregnancy