A quick guide to asthma in pregnancy

If you experience asthma it may become worse during pregnancy (particularly in the second half of your pregnancy). However this is only the case if you experience severe asthma, if your asthma is only mild it will most likely remain the same.

An asthma attack is serious normally but becomes more so during pregnancy, due to the importance of oxygen reaching your baby. If you do suffer from severe asthma it may be advisable to have a check up with a specialist before becoming pregnant to assess possibilities for your and your babies safety.

What causes an asthma attack?
They are usually triggered by an allergen or an allergic reaction associated with an infection.

What happens during an attack?
Wheezing, coughing and laborious breathing.

Can I develop asthma?
Most people with severe asthma develop it before they are ten. However sometimes you may go with out the symptoms of the disease until your 30's so it is possible that this disease may become evident during pregnancy.

Why does pregnancy affect asthma?
It is believed that the hormone progesterone (produced in pregnancy) can make an asthmatic more sensitive to carbon dioxide.

If my pregnancy shows no problems with asthma, will labour be fine?
No, you may have no signs of asthma attacks during pregnancy, but then develop a sudden attack during labour.

Are there other related complications with asthma?
Yes, a mother suffering from asthma has increased chances of experiencing, morning sickness, toxemia and irregular bleeding. There is also a greater risk of a premature baby.

Will my asthma medications affect my baby?
• Asthma medications should not affect your baby.
• You may feel concerned that your asthma medication is harming your unborn child. However there has been no evidence that these medications affect your baby. In fact if you do not continue to take these medications you will be putting you baby at a greater risk and your chances of an asthma attack will be increased.
• Ventolin and Bricanyl are thought of as being safe for when you are pregnant.
• If you take theophyllines (this includes brondecon, nuelin and theodur) consult your health professional first as you may need these to be monitored.

Asthma management during pregnancy.
• Be prepared to manage your asthma during your pregnancy
• As an asthmatic you will be familiar with monitoring your peak flow. Continue this during pregnancy as it provides a useful guide as to how your asthma is being managed.
• Remember that if you manage your asthma throughout your pregnancy then you will be at no greater risk than a mother who does not suffer from asthma. Management is important. The chance of having an asthma attack when in labour is very rare, and you will have your health professional right there for your assistance if you did.

No one should smoke during pregnancy, and if you are pregnant this can be very dangerous. Give up smoking for the sake of your babies health. You are at greater risk of extra complications if you smoke and suffer from asthma.

Your asthma will probably improve during the last trimester of your pregnancy. However you will still experience breathlessness just as other mothers do in the last trimester due to the growing uterus creating less room for your lungs to expand.




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