Asthma and pregnancy: what you need to know

Asthma during pregnancy can pose certain health risks. However, the effect of asthma differs from person to person. So, it’s a bit tricky to predict what will happen with your asthma when you’re pregnant, but let’s find out what you might encounter having asthma whilst pregnant.

What exactly is asthma

Asthma is a common lung condition that affects the body’s airways and can be identified by the symptoms it causes such as coughing wheezing and being breathless. Did you know that asthma affects 1 in 12 adults and 1 in 11 children? It also affects men more than women.

Should I be worried?

Relax. If you’re effectively managing your asthma (such as taking medications or using your inhaler for example), there is nothing to be concerned about. Taking medicines prescribed for your asthma will greatly reduce the risk of asthma-related issues.

I’m worried that my asthma medicines aren’t safe whilst pregnant

With all medication, they sometimes have side effects which can pose risks to your baby also.  There’s been a lot of discussion on the use of corticosteroids or steroids, which is used as an anti-inflammatory.  They have been linked with a greater risk of complications such as:

 

  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Low birthweight

However, most medications are safe to take whilst pregnant. Please don’t stop taking your medication or reduce the dosage on your own. We recommend that you should consult your doctor/midwife if you have concerns about your medicines.

What happens if I stop taking my prescribed medicines?

By taking your medication it will reduce the risk of suffering from asthma-related complications. By not taking or reducing the dosage of your medication, you run the risk of inducing an asthma attack, which affects your breathing as well as the amount of oxygen your baby gets.  Lack of oxygen to the fetus has been linked to a greater risk of permanent brain damage and stillbirth.

What should I avoid?

Here’s a few tips to prevent asthma-related complications

  • Do not self-medicate- it’s not advisable to stop taking your medication or self-dose (reduce/increase amount), please consult your doctor/midwife if you have any concerns
  • Don’t smoke – smoking affects the lungs and can worsen asthma; it’s not advised to smoke whilst pregnant
  • Avoid triggers – try and avoid triggers such as secondhand smoke, dust, and animal dander etc.
  • Try and control acid reflux – acid reflux or heartburn can worsen asthma symptoms; you can reduce them by eating smaller meals, avoid spicy foods and keeping your head elevated

When should I seek medical help?

You should inform your doctor/midwife if you’re experiencing the following:

 

  • Excessive coughing or wheezing at night
  • Chest feels tight
  • Using your inhaler more often
  • Breathlessness
  • No change in feeling after using inhaler

 

Asthma, when treated properly, can be unproblematic. If you continue to take your inhaler and prescribed medicines, asthma shouldn’t affect you or your baby as much. We recommend visiting your doctor/midwife, so you can talk to them about your concerns you may have.

Did you know that Pregma can connect you with healthcare professionals? We provide private pregnancy care in London to all expecting and new mums, including a network of postnatal specialists such as infant feeding specialists, prenatal and postnatal midwifes amongst others. Book an appointment using our telemedicine system today to benefit from the best care get and excellent maternity care in London.

For further details, call us at 0800 707 4041 or email at info@pregma.co.uk.

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