Asthma and pregnancy: Tips to manage the risks

Pregnant women with asthma often wonder if their medications will harm their baby or if pregnancy will make their symptoms worse. Asthma and pregnancy complications can occur, so you should plan everything with your doctor.Asthma is no excuse not to have children. In fact, women with asthma can conceive well and give birth to healthy babies. If you or your partner smokes, it’s time to get rid of the bad habit.

We know that asthma is a chronic disease that can affect anyone. Inflammation and tension in the muscles around the small airways cause the airways in the lungs to constrict. So the inhaler is an ally for asthma sufferers. Coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing are some of the asthma symptoms that should not be ignored (How to Prevent Wheezing and Coughing).

Don’t use asthma as an excuse not to get pregnant. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

There are many different triggers for asthma, including viral illnesses (colds), dust, smoke, fumes, weather changes, grass and tree pollen, animal hair and feathers, harsh soaps, and scents.

HealthShots consulted Dr. Teji Dawane, senior consultant obstetrician and gynecologist at Motherhood Hospital, Whitefield, Bengaluru, to find out how asthma and pregnancy go hand in hand.

Can Pregnancy Cause Asthma?

Dr. Dawane says there is no data to suggest that pregnancy can cause asthma. Pregnancy, on the other hand, can make asthma symptoms worse. Women who are unaware of moderate asthma may first notice symptoms during pregnancy. However, most asthmatic women are aware of their condition before becoming pregnant. Therefore, there is no need to worry about the possibility of developing asthma while pregnant.

Asthma and Baby Planning

You can manage asthma and lower your pregnancy-related risks by making a plan with your doctor. So schedule a pre-pregnancy visit before you make the decision to have a baby. This session is all about discussing your overall health and potential medical issues. Many women with asthma strategize at this meeting how they want to deal with medical problems involving asthma during pregnancy. Talking to your doctor can help keep your asthma under control and ensure that treatment is as safe as possible for both you and your baby.

It is also a great time for you or your partner to quit smoking. Also, be careful not to stop taking the medicine during pregnancy.

asthma and pregnancy
It is possible to have a healthy pregnancy even if you have asthma.Image credit: Shutterstock

Can Pregnancy Make Asthma Worse?

It is normal for pregnant women to worry about how their asthma will change during pregnancy. They also suspect that asthma medications can harm the unborn baby. Overall, asthma medication use poses significantly lower risks than poorly controlled asthma. One of the most common concerns is using an inhaler to manage asthma. Most inhalers are safe to take during pregnancy. Respirable drugs are rarely absorbed into the bloodstream.

Can Asthma Affect Your Baby During Pregnancy?

Some women are even concerned about how asthma affects their unborn child. As a result, babies are more likely to be born prematurely, have a low birth weight and develop slowly. Women with asthma have a slightly higher risk of pre-eclampsia or hypertension and caesarean section compared to women without asthma. Babies that are premature or too small are more likely to have newborn health problems (how to care for a premature baby).

Tips for women with asthma to have a smooth pregnancy

First of all, you need to understand that asthma is not a reason not to conceive. Make a plan with your doctor about asthma medications during pregnancy. Management of asthma during pregnancy is very important. Do not start or stop taking any medicine without first consulting your doctor.

Also, taking care to manage your surrounding asthma triggers during pregnancy will ensure a smooth pregnancy experience.

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• Stay away from certain allergens known to exacerbate asthma symptoms. This includes common irritants such as pet dander (hair, fur, feathers, etc.), household dust, cigarette smoke, strong perfumes, and pollution.
• If you are sensitive to house dust mites, protect your mattress and pillows with plastic covers or dust mites.
• Don’t smoke. Stay away from smokers.

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