Managing Pregnancy with Asthma

While pregnancy can make your asthma worse, it is rarely a reason to avoid becoming pregnant. On average, 8 percent of women suffer from asthma during their pregnancy. Pregnancy with asthma can be easily managed with regular visits to your doctor and by monitoring both the mother and the baby for any significant changes due to the asthma or medication. It is better to continue any medications you may already be prescribed, as it is much healthier for the baby than if there were no management for the asthma at all. Poorly managed, this condition can cause toxemia, severe bleeding, and high blood pressure in the mother. It can also affect the baby’s birth weight and could cause premature birth.

If you are already taking allergy shots for asthma, it is likely your doctor will continue the treatments and monitor you for any changes. Because the shot is absorbed into the blood stream and is more likely to affect the baby, especially within the first trimester, allergy shots are not usually started during pregnancy. It is more likely you will be given an inhaler, as the medication from this device is absorbed into the lungs directly. Also, the dose of medication from the inhaler is very small. The best step to take is to talk with your allergist about your asthma and what can be done to manage it during your pregnancy. If needed, they will adjust your medication.

To prevent any serious attacks during pregnancy, it is important to avoid triggers known to cause your symptoms, especially house dust, pet dander, and cigarette smoke. Covering mattresses and pillows can limit your exposure to dust mites, as will avoiding sleeping on upholstered furniture. If you are going to be pregnant during flu season, it is recommended that you get the flu shot. No known risks have been found showing any harm from the flu shot to your baby.

Pregnancy with asthma has some common trends. For instance, if your asthma worsens during the pregnancy, you can expect a symptom increase between weeks 29 and 36. Also, the last month of pregnancy tends to be the least severe. If you plan to have multiple children, you can expect your asthma to behave the same in the later pregnancies as the first.

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