Some Physiological changes occur in maternal respiratory system during pregnancy which are normally well tolerated without any symptoms.
Pregnancy and Asthma:
Mild breathlessness is common during normal pregnancy and it does not always indicate cardio pulmonary disease. Breathlessness is usually noticed after 28 weeks of gestation. However it should be noted that Asthma affects about 7% of pregnant woman. Asthma is the most common chronic medical condition encountered in pregnant woman. About one third of woman with asthma experience improvement during pregnancy, about one third get worsening of disease and the other third stay same. If asthma is milder and properly controlled before pregnancy then chances of complications during pregnancy are less. Hence optimal control of asthma prior to pregnancy is very important.
Complications of Asthma can affect Pregnancy:
If asthma in women is not controlled properly, they are more likely to have complications like:
Increased risk of Preeclampsia
Increased risk of low birth weight because of reduced oxygenation
Increased risk of vaginal bleeding
Increased risk of asthma in offspring
Increased risk of congenital malformation Goal of treatment for asthma in pregnancy is to have asthma control with minimal exacerbations and maintenance of normal pulmonary function.
Treatment for Asthma in Pregnancy:
Treatment is started with low dose inhaled B2 agonists. Inhalation route is preferred over oral route. Goal of treatment is to ensure maternal oxygen saturation above 95% so as to ensure optimal fetal oxygenation.
In addition to medical treatment pregnant women with asthma should take precautions such as :