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ASTHMA IN PREGNANCY

ASTHMA IN PREGNANCY

by: Dr. Pooja Mehta
Sr. Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynecology

Asthma is a relatively common health problem existing in the society and affecting all age groups. Roughly 5% of pregnant women may be affected by asthma. Though asthma is a potentially serious condition, if kept under control it is not likely to harm the mother or fetus. It is wiser to regularly take asthma medications and control it rather than allowing an acute asthma attack to flare up. An asthma attack can surely cut down oxygen to fetus and do irreparable harm.

How pregnancy can affect asthma?

  • For women who already had asthma before they got pregnant, it is difficult to predict whether asthma will worsen, improve or remain the same.
  • By and large women need to continue almost the same asthma medications that they were taking prior to pregnancy.
  • Trigger factors for asthmatic attack may increase during pregnancy. Eg. GERD, infections due to low immunity.
  • Some post delivery medications can exacerbate asthma and need to be avoided in asthmatic patient.

How asthma can affect pregnancy?

Pregnant women with asthma are at a higher risk of hypertension or pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, both of which have their own complications on mother and baby.

How asthma can affect fetus?

  • Intra-Uterine Growth Retardation (IUGR): Fetus of asthmatic mothers may suffer from IUGR and may be smaller for date compared to fetus of normal mothers.
  • Likelihood of premature delivery is higher in asthmatic mothers.

Overall asthma drugs are considered to be safe in pregnancy. The mainstay  treatment of asthma in pregnancy is cortico-steroid inhalers. Also, anti- allergic drugs are often required. Sometimes, there may be need of anti-biotics, beta 2 agonists or oral steroids.

The harm that anti asthmatic drug can do is that the baby is much smaller than the harm an asthma attack can do to the baby. Hence, it is important to continue all drugs as prescribed.

YOUR DO’S AND DON’TS

  • Always inform your gynecologist about your asthma and the drugs you are taking.
  • Always inform your physician about your pregnancy.
  • Continue all drugs as prescribed.
  • Never stop any drug or medicine just because you may be feeling better for a few days during your pregnancy.
  • Never ignore any sign of breathlessness, wheezing, tightness of chest.
  • Avoid crowded places or being contacted with people infected with flu.
  • Avoid trigger factors or allergens or pollens.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Get your surroundings free from allergens.
  • Take measures to avoid GERD take small frequent meals.
  • Avoid strong fragrances, chemicals, shampoos, perfumes, pets etc.
  • Travel well equipped with all medicines and to places with good health care facilities.
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