ASTHMA AND PREGNANCY
When women are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, they begin to strictly monitor what they eat and drink. One thing that’s easy the forget about is the relationship between asthma and pregnancy.
If you’re a mom-to-be, it is vital that you keep your asthma under control. It is important to avoid triggers and take your asthma medications as prescribed. These disciplines can all help ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and your little one.
If you struggle with asthma, it is encouraged that you monitor your asthma during prenatal visits. It is impossible to predict how your asthma will react to your pregnancy. One third of women experiences a worsening of symptoms, one third have a decrease in the severity and one third tend to stay the same. It is important to have these check-ins so your doctor can increase or decrease your medication if necessary.
Asthma attacks are most common during the later weeks of pregnancy, but are very rare during labor itself.
Managing Your Asthma During Pregnancy
What happens if you have an asthma flare-up during your pregnancy? An asthma flare-up causes decreased oxygen levels in the blood. This, in turn, can lead to less oxygen reaching the fetus. Low oxygen can impair healthy fetal growth and development.
If you were receiving allergy shots (immunotherapy) prior to becoming pregnant, it is safe for you to continue this treatment during pregnancy. Just be sure to let your allergist know that you are pregnant. If you are interested in starting allergy shots, it is best to wait until the baby is born.
What About Medications?
Make sure to continue taking your medications throughout your pregnancy. Many mothers-to-be are concerned about taking medications during pregnancy. Yet the risks posed by uncontrolled asthma are much greater than those from asthma treatments.
Inhaled corticosteroids are often the treatment of choice for persistent asthma. Studies have shown them to be effective and low-risk for pregnant women. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) recommends two specific drugs: budesonide (inhaled corticosteroid) and albuterol (short-acting Beta 2-agonist) as having good safety profiles when used during pregnancy.
Oral corticosteroids are not preferred for regular asthma treatment during pregnancy. However, they can be used to treat severe asthma attacks.
If you are pregnant and think you may have asthma, make sure to have your condition diagnosed to reduce the risks to your baby. Studies have linked asthma attacks in early pregnancy to birth defects.