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Asthma and Pregnancy

Possible Complications of Asthma During Pregnancy

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Updated October 13, 2009

Asthma can naturally affect many aspects of life for those who have it -- including pregnancy. As many as 8% of all pregnant women are also asthmatics. Here is what UpToDate, an online health reference for doctors and patients, had to say about the risks women with asthma face during pregnancy:

"Women who have asthma have a small increase in the risk for certain complications of pregnancy, although the reasons for this are unknown. Compared to women who do not have asthma, women with asthma are slightly more likely to have one or more of the following pregnancy complications:

  • high blood pressure or preeclampsia
  • a premature delivery
  • a cesarean delivery
  • a baby that is small for its age

However, the vast majority of women with asthma and their babies do not have any complications during pregnancy. Good control of asthma during pregnancy reduces the risk of complications."

So, having asthma during pregnancy can mean a higher risk of some complications in later pregnancy, but most moms with asthma should be able to have a healthy baby. It makes sense to work with a doctor from early along and ensure that your asthma stays under control during pregnancy in order to have the best possible outcome.

Here are some more questions you might have about asthma during pregnancy:

  • What kind of doctor should I be seeing?
    As is recommended for any pregnant woman, you should see your OB/GYN, family practitioner, or midwife for prenatal care, and make sure that your care provider is aware of your asthma. You should also keep in touch with the specialist you see for your asthma treatment throughout the pregnancy, in case complications should arise.

  • Are my asthma medications safe during pregnancy?
    That's a question for your asthma specialist. Some asthma drugs have a stronger track record during pregnancy than others, and there is a chance that your doctor may want to switch your medications. If you are planning a pregnancy or have recently become pregnant, it's a good idea to call your asthma specialist to check if you need any changes to your treatment plan. In any case, never stop taking your medication unless your doctor says to do so.

  • Will pregnancy affect my asthma?
    The answer varies from person to person. Pregnancy does worsen asthma for some women, but others actually note a reduction in during pregnancy. Still others see no effect. If you feel that your asthma symptoms are getting worse during your pregnancy, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

Want to learn more? See UpToDate's topic, "Pregnancy and asthma," for additional in-depth medical information.

Source:

Weinberger, Stephen E., Michael Schatz, and Mitchell P Dombrowski. "Pregnancy and asthma." UpToDate. Accessed: October 2009.

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