Asthma During Pregnancy
Asthma is a chronic lung disease. It can cause tightening of the airways and make it difficult to breathe. There is no cure for asthma. You can feel healthy if you have the disease but asthma flare ups can happen at anytime. It is very important to work with your health care provider to manage your symptoms during pregnancy.
How does asthma affect pregnancy ?
Asthma will probably not cause any problems during pregnancy if it is kept under control. However if it is not well-managed, it can put you at risk of preeclampsia. Uncontrolled asthma may also result in your baby not getting enough oxygen. This can result in health problems such as
What causes asthma ?
Many things can trigger asthma, some of which include :
- irritants such as cigarette smoke and air pollution
- allergens such as animal dander, molds and dust mites
- infections such as flu, viral pneumonia and cold
- exercising can set off asthma in some people
What are the symptoms of asthma ?
Some of the symptoms of this lung disease include the following :
- shortness of breath
- constant coughing especially at night and early morning
- tightness in the chest
How is asthma treated during pregnancy ?
During pregnancy, your doctor will monitor your lungs so that he can adjust your medication if there is the need. Let your health care provider know if your symptoms get worse. Avoiding triggers and allergens will help you need less medication to treat your symptoms.
Can I take asthma medication during pregnancy ?
If you were taking asthma medication before pregnancy, don’t stop taking them without talking to your doctor. Your health care provide will find ways to manage and treat it. If you were already taking allergy shots, you can keep taking them during pregnancy. If you haven’t already taking allergy shot, don’t take them because you can have serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Can asthma symptoms change during pregnancy ?
Yes asthma symptoms usually change during pregnancy. Sometimes they get better and at other times they get worse. Getting the flu can set off serious symptoms. Make sure to get a flu shot in October or November each year. Heartburn can also make symptoms worse.
Do you need any special test if you are pregnant and have asthma ?
If your condition is under control, you may not need special testing. However, if you have moderate to severe asthma during pregnancy, your health care provider will recommend repeated ultrasounds to monitor your baby’s health. These will start around pregnancy week 32.
Will labor set of any symptoms ?
Only a few percentage of pregnant women experience symptoms of asthma during labor and delivery. Take your usual medication during labor and birth. If symptoms show up, your health care provider will take measures to control them.
Can I breastfeed while on asthma medication ?
Asthma medication get into breast milk . However the quantity is very small and safe for the baby. If you are taking high doses of certain asthma medications such as theophylline, your baby may become irritable and have trouble breathing. To help prevent this, take your medications 3 to 4 hours before the next feeding. Your health care provider and your baby’s doctor can adjust your medication schedule so that you can breastfeed safely.
Asthma during pregnancy. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/asthma-during-pregnancy.aspx. Accessed December 27, 2014
Pregnancy and asthma : managing your symptoms. Mayo Foundation. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-and-asthma/art-20047303. Accessed December 27, 2014