New Guidelines for Treatment of Asthma in Pregnant Women

  • Pregnancy can be one of most joyful periods in life, provided the woman is feeling well. But, if you're not feeling well due to abdominal or back discomfort, nausea, swelling of the feet and/or emotional ups and downs, and then have to contend with asthma symptoms on top of all that, it can really be difficult.


    So, what's a pregnant woman with asthma to do? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has released guidelines to help guide you and your doctor with that.


    To begin with, it's important to recognize that according to the National Asthma and Education Program (the governing body that develops overall asthma treatment guidelines), it is safer for pregnant women with asthma to take asthma medicines than it is for them to have asthma symptoms and asthma flares. It's also better for the baby. When a pregnant woman is breathing easy and getting enough oxygen into the body, then the baby is going to get the oxygen it needs as well.

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    Here are some highlights of the new clinical guidelines:

    • Women with mild or moderate asthma that is well-controlled have the best pregnancy outcomes, while women with severe or poorly controlled asthma may have a number of complications during pregnancy and following delivery.
    • A step system of treatment should be used to limit the number of medications to just the amount needed for control.
    • Budesonide is the preferred inhaled steroid, if daily medicine is needed.
    • To reduce the need for medication, tobacco smoke and other asthma triggers should be avoided as much as possible.
    • Maintenance immunotherapy (allergy shots) can be continued if they are helping to reduce symptoms and are well-tolerated.
    • Use of most asthma and allergy prescription medications can be safely continued while breastfeeding.
    In summary, the goal of asthma treatment during pregnancy is to maintain adequate oxygen supply to both mom and fetus by treating with the lowest dose of asthma medicine possible and by avoiding asthma triggers.
Published On: February 12, 2008