Asthma is one of the most common chronic medical issues in our society, so it is no surprise that a significant number of pregnant women suffer with asthma. Symptoms can include cough, wheeze and breathlessness and are often brought on by exercise, viral respiratory tract infections or exposure to smoke, pollens and other substances.
For women who suffer from asthma, pregnancy can sometimes mean a reduction in their symptoms, no change, or a worsening of symptoms.
Asthma often requires long term medication to control the symptoms and I am often asked whether these medications are safe in pregnancy.
Firstly, it is extremely important that asthma symptoms are well controlled for the health of both mother and baby. Women who have poorly controlled asthma are more likely to have pregnancy complications such as low birth weight, preterm delivery and pre-eclampsia. For a mother, a severe asthma attack can be potentially life threatening.
In terms of medication safety, the latest evidence points to the safety of most asthma medications, including long acting relievers and inhaled corticosteroids during pregnancy.
Reducing the risk of complications
- Certainly stopping smoking is vital in pregnant women who are asthmatics.
- Developing and asthma action plan with your GP or Obstetrician and ensuring you are on the optimal medication regime to control your symptoms is extremely important. The aim will be to use the lowest dose of the fewest medications to keep the symptoms at bay
- Notifying your doctor if you notice a need to use your reliever more frequently, especially if you need to use it overnight
The above information doesn’t take the place of a medical consultation so please seek further advice if you have further concerns.