Asthma and pregnancy: Why treatment can’t wait


Short of breath? It’s time to get that asthma in check. For a woman who has a history of this disease, the key to a healthy pregnancy is managing her symptoms under a doctor’s care. Asthma is common, treatable and poses no additional risks to your developing baby – just as long as you’re fastidious about treatment.

Why treatment matters

You may be well accustomed to shortness of breath and wheezing, but now that you’re pregnant it’s not the time to soldier through. Even the mildest symptoms should be addressed during pregnancy. Leaving your asthma uncontrolled can put your little one at risk, depriving him or her of enough oxygen and potentially leading to the following:

  • Slow fetal growth and development
  • Preterm birth (arriving unsafely before week 37)
  • Low birth weight
  • And in some instances, death

Read more: My advice to first trimester moms-to-be

Ignoring your asthma symptoms during this time may also cause pregnancy complications for you such as high blood pressure and preeclampsia – two conditions that can cause a world of headache for both you and your little one. The short story on them? You definitely want to avoid them.

How to manage asthma during pregnancy

The good news for pregnant women is that treatment doesn’t need to change much. There are a host of medications that do not cross the placenta – meaning they’re safe to use with a baby on the way. You should also keep the following items in mind:

  • Work with your doctor or midwife to develop a plan to control your symptoms and prevent asthma attacks.
  • Get a flu shot as soon as it’s available. It’s safe for use at any trimester during pregnancy. People with asthma are at a high risk for severe complications from the flu.
  • Pregnancy can play with the severity of your symptoms, so be sure to have regular check-ups to monitor your lung function.
  • Count kicks daily. Once you begin to feel baby’s movements regularly (after 28 weeks), you’ll want to keep record of when he or she is most active. Make certain your son or daughter maintains his or her level of activity – and if movement slows markedly during or after an asthma attack contact your provider immediately.
  • Talk with your doctor about monitoring baby’s growth through ultrasounds. Your provider may want to keep an eye on your little one’s development if your asthma is out of control.

Read more: The crucial pregnancy check-up you could be missing

Getting your asthma under control now that you’re pregnant is more important than ever. Treatment doesn’t have to change dramatically, but getting your symptoms in-check will help ensure smooth sailing for you and your baby.

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