Pregnancy and Asthma

Asthma during pregnancy can pose health risks for you and your baby. Know how to avoid triggers and use medication safely.

Why is Asthma during pregnancy a concern?

Poorly controlled asthma may increase risk of following complications:

  • • A pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys (preeclampsia)
  • • Restricted fetal growth
  • • Premature birth
  • • The need for a C-section
In extreme cases, the baby's life might be in jeopardy.

Can pregnancy make Asthma worse?

One third of asthmatic women improve, one third remains same and remaining third (33%) of asthmatic women usually have worsening of symptoms.

Is it safe to take Asthma medication during pregnancy?

Any medication you take during pregnancy can potentially have risks. Some concerns have been raised about the use of systemic glucocorticoids — a type of steroid — during pregnancy. They have been linked with an increased risk of infant oral clefts, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low birth weight and adrenal problems. However, most asthma medications can be safely used during pregnancy. Also, it's safer to take asthma medications during pregnancy than it is to experience asthma symptoms or an asthma attack. If you're having trouble breathing, your baby might not get enough oxygen. Asthma specialist doctor will prescribe you safest medication. Take the medication as prescribed. Don't stop taking the medication or adjust the dosage on your own.

Will I need special tests?

If you have poorly controlled or moderate to severe asthma or you're recovering from a severe asthma attack, your health care provider might recommend a series of ultrasounds starting at week 32 of your pregnancy to monitor your baby's growth and activity.
Your doctor might also recommend that you pay close attention to your baby’s activity level.

What should I do to prepare for pregnancy?

Schedule a preconception appointment with your doctor or asthma specialist to evaluate how well you're managing your asthma and consider any treatment changes you might need to make before pregnancy begins.

What can I do to prevent complications?

Taking good care of yourself is the best way to take care of your baby. For example:

  • • Keep your prenatal appointments: Visit your health care provider regularly throughout your pregnancy.
  • • Take your medication as prescribed
  • • Don't smoke: Smoking can worsen asthma, and smoking during pregnancy can cause health problems for you and your baby.
  • • Avoid and control triggers: Avoid exposure to second hand smoke and other potential irritants, such as dust and animal dander.
  • • Control gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD — a chronic digestive disease that causes acid reflux and heartburn — can worsen asthma symptoms.
  • • Recognize warning signs. Make sure you know the early signs and symptoms that your asthma is getting worse, such as coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath or wheezing. Talk to your health care provider about home treatments and when to seek medical help.

What about labor and delivery?

Most women don't experience major asthma symptoms during labor and delivery. If you're taking asthma medication, continue doing so during labor and delivery.

Will I be able to breast-feed my baby?

Breast-feeding is encouraged for women who have asthma — even if you take medication.

Will my baby have Asthma?

A number of factors are thought to increase a person's chances of developing asthma, including having a parent or sibling who has asthma and having a mother who smoked while pregnant. Be sure to talk to your baby's doctor about any concerns you might have about your baby's health.
Source: Pregnancy and asthma: Managing your symptoms - Mayo Clinic