Pregnancy & Asthma - The Effects on the Mother

  • If you are a woman with asthma and you are thinking of getting pregnant or if you have just learned that you are expecting a baby, try not to worry. As long as you keep working on keeping your asthma under control, there is no reason that having asthma will keep you from having a healthy pregnancy or a normal, healthy baby.


    On the other hand, if asthma is out of control during pregnancy, then it can have serious effects on both you and your infant. So, it's really important to take positive steps, starting now, to get on the right track and stay healthy.


    This post is the first in a new series on Pregnancy & Asthma and will look at the effect on you. The next post in the series will look at the effect of pregnancy and asthma on your baby, and the final post in the series covers how to stay healthy before and after your pregnancy.

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    First, How Does Being Pregnant Affect Your Asthma?

    The effect of pregnancy on asthma can vary quite a bit. Studies show that one out of three pregnant women will notice their asthma control slipping during pregnancy. Another one out of three will not notice any difference at all, and the final third of women will actually have their asthma improve while pregnant. It's impossible to predict which way it'll go for you, so be sure to work closely with your asthma specialist to keep your asthma under control during your pregnancy.


    It's not known why some pregnant women's asthma control worsens. But, if things do get worse for you, it's most likely not to occur until the end of your second trimester or beginning of your third trimester. The increase in asthma symptoms might be due to the fact that as your baby grows, the womb presses on your diaphragm, making breathing more difficult. Or, the extra mass in your abdominal area might be triggering gastroesophageal reflux (GERD for short), which can also worsen asthma symptoms. Stress may also play a role in asthma and pregnancy.


    Experts are also not sure why some asthmatic women feel better in pregnancy. But they suspect it might be related to an increase in the hormone cortisol, whose level rises during pregnancy.


    The bottom line is that if you've been pregnant before, then you probably know what to expect in the future in terms of your asthma during pregnancy, because it's usually the same each time for a woman. But, no matter what happens during your pregnancy, try not to worry about having a safe delivery. As long as you've worked to keep your asthma under control, things should go well. And remember, only about one out of every 10 pregnant asthmatic women have asthma symptoms during labor and delivery.

    How Can Asthma Affect Your Pregnancy?


    If your asthma is kept in control, then it shouldn't have negative effects on your body during pregnancy. But, if your asthma is not kept under control, then high blood pressure and a more severe condition called pre-eclampsia could result.


    Pre-eclampsia is a condition that causes you to retain fluid, while also leaking protein into your urine, and that can lead to a number of health problems. Although pregnant women who have pre-eclampsia usually recover after their babies are born, if you do get it while still pregnant, it could cause seizures, which can threaten both you are your baby's lives.


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    So, as you can see the key to staying healthy during pregnancy when you have asthma is to keep your asthma under careful control. That's usually easy to do as long as you take the positive steps you are supposed to and work closely with your physicians.


    Next up: How Asthma Can Affect Your Baby

Published On: May 13, 2010