Pregnancy And Asthma

If you are pregnant and have asthma, you should try to learn all you can about the drugs you are taking to control your asthma. Good asthma control is essential to provide the oxygen your body and the fetus needs. Your doctor will work out the asthma plan best suited to your needs while you are pregnant.

You must also communicate with everyone involved. Make sure your obstetrician knows that you have asthma and what you are doing about it. Also, you must keep the doctor who looks after your asthma informed about your pregnancy and the medications you may be taking. Your doctors will usually be well informed and experienced in treating asthma in pregnant women.

  • As a general rule, your doctor will try to determine the lowest amount of medication required to control your asthma. It is important to keep your asthma well controlled during pregnancy so that you and your baby will be in the best possible condition for the birth.
  • The drugs used for control and relief of asthma symptoms are not tested on pregnant women because of ethical reasons. (In fact, proof of safety during pregnancy is not established for most drugs.) However, limited studies of asthma medications in pregnant animals, and the routine use of such drugs in pregnant women with asthma, suggest the drugs are safe. There is little to suggest an increased risk to the fetus. Therefore, there is wide acceptance by experts that the usual asthma drugs should be used to control asthma symptoms in pregnant women. Maintaining adequate oxygen supply to the fetus is essential. Because some drugs have not been tested in pregnant women does not mean that they are harmful. It means that a medical decision must be made regarding their use during pregnancy, and that the dosage and effects be closely monitored by your doctors.
  • Always ask your doctor about the use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines during pregnancy and never change the dosage of your asthma medicines without directions from your doctor. Follow your action plan.

Nice To Know:

Interestingly, the fetus protects itself against low oxygen levels by producing a special type of hemoglobin in its red blood cells. (Hemoglobin molecules carry oxygen in the bloodstream.) This special hemoglobin makes the baby’s red blood cells very efficient in receiving oxygen from the mother. In fact, even in women who have moderate to severe chronic asthma, the fetus usually receives enough oxygen for its needs.


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