A new review published in the May-June issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine emphasizes the importance of asthma and allergy control in affected pregnant women. This control is essential to normal fetal development.
The review finds that women who had severe or uncontrolled asthma were at higher risk for pregnancy complications and adverse fetal outcomes than women whose asthma was well-controlled.
Plus, current treatment guidelines have found that it is safer to treat asthma in a pregnant woman than for her to suffer asthma symptoms and asthma attacks. Also, since 80 percent of people who have asthma also have nasal allergies, the allergies should be included in the treatment plan as well.
In a study done at Kaiser-Permanente, researchers found that improvement or worsening of allergy and asthma symptoms mirrored each other. They suggested then that aggressive treatment of the nasal allergies would also help promote better control over asthma.
Asthma is the most common chronic illness affecting pregnancy, though not every pregnant asthmatic will experience the same course. Asthma often improves during the latter part of a pregnancy, but then returns to its normal severity following the birth.
It's important to understand that there are very few risks in taking allergy and asthma medication during pregnancy. On the other hand, there are some rather weighty possible complications that go along with severe or uncontrolled asthma:
- Vaginal hemorrhage
- Fetal death in utero
- Preterm delivery
- Restricted growth in the fetus
If you have asthma and become pregnant, continue taking your asthma and allergy medicine every day, unless your doctor advises otherwise. If symptoms worsen, get in touch with your doctor to talk about the need for a treatment change.
Some of the safest medicines are inhaled and intranasal steroids like budesonide. Albuterol—a rescue inhaler—has also proven safe during pregnancy.
Remember, the health of your baby is dependent on your commitment to keeping your asthma under control during your pregnancy.
Published On: May 14, 2007