Asthma and Pregnancy
Asthma symptoms may improve, worsen, or remain the same during pregnancy. Most asthma medications are generally safe for both the mother and the baby. Pregnant women should take the proper medications as prescribed by their physicians.
The effect of pregnancy on a woman's asthma is unpredictable. Approximately one-third of women with asthma will experience a worsening of symptoms during pregnancy. A third of women with asthma will have no change in their asthma symptoms, while a third actually experience improvement of their asthma symptoms. The actual labor and delivery of the baby is not associated with a worsening of symptoms. Any worsening will typically occur during the second or third trimesters.
Asthma does put both the mother and baby at increased risk for a number of conditions. Risks for the mother include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vaginal bleeding
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
- Complicated labor
- Increased mortality during delivery.
Risks for the baby include:
- Premature delivery
- Low birth weight
- Increased mortality.
As these risks are small, asthma is not a contraindication for pregnancy.
To reduce the risk of harming both you and your baby, your asthma should be well controlled during pregnancy. This means that any medications your physician prescribes for you should be taken as instructed. You should avoid any triggers that cause your asthma to flare up. You should monitor your asthma more closely during pregnancy with breathing tests at home and more frequent visits to your doctor.