Baby Care

Asthma and pregnancy: Tips to manage the risks

Pregnant women with asthma often wonder if their medicines would harm their baby or if pregnancy will worsen their condition. Asthma and pregnancy complications can happen, which is why you need to plan out everything with a doctor. Asthma should not be an excuse to not have a child. In fact, women with asthma can have a smooth pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. You just have to manage your asthma while you are pregnant. If you or your partner are smoking, it’s time to get rid of the bad habit.

We know that asthma is a chronic illness that can affect anybody. Due to inflammation and tightness of the muscles around the tiny airways, the airways in the lungs become constricted. That’s why an inhaler becomes a friend of people with asthma. Coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing are some of the asthma symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore (ways to prevent wheezing and cough).

Asthma shouldn’t be an excuse to not get pregnant. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

The triggers for asthma vary, but might include viral illnesses (colds), dust, smoke, fumes, changes in weather, grass and tree pollen, animal hair and feathers, harsh soaps, and scent.

HealthShots consulted Dr Teji Dawane, senior consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Whitefield, Bengaluru, to find out how asthma and pregnancy go hand-in-hand.

Can pregnancy cause asthma?

Dr Dawane says that there is no data to suggest that being pregnant may cause asthma. Pregnancy, on the other hand, might aggravate asthma symptoms. It is conceivable that a woman who is unaware she has moderate asthma would notice symptoms for the first time while pregnant. However, most asthmatic women are aware of their condition prior to getting pregnant. So, being pregnant and worrying over the possibility of developing asthma should not be a cause for concern.

Asthma and baby planning

Planning with your doctor might help to manage your asthma and lower your pregnancy-related risks. So, schedule a preconception visit before you decide to have a baby. This session will be all about discussing your overall health and any potential medical issues you might have. Many women with asthma establish a game plan for how they will wish to address their medical issues, including asthma, throughout pregnancy during this meeting. With your doctor, you can ensure that your asthma is controlled and that you are taking the safest possible treatments for both you and your unborn child.

It is also a fantastic moment for you or your partner to quit smoking. Also, make sure that you shouldn’t stop taking any of your medicines while you are pregnant.

asthma and pregnancy
It is possible to have a smooth pregnancy even if you have asthma. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Can pregnancy make asthma worse?

It’s normal for pregnant women to be concerned about how their asthma will alter throughout the pregnancy. They also wonder if their asthma medications would damage the unborn child. The expert says that most women may breathe comfortably, have a normal pregnancy, and give birth to a healthy baby with the help of asthma medication. Overall, using asthma drugs carries a substantially lower risk than having poorly managed asthma. One of the most prevalent worries is using an inhaler to manage asthma. Most inhalation medications are safe to take while pregnant. The drug you breathe rarely, if ever, is absorbed into your bloodstream.

Can asthma affect the baby during pregnancy?

Some women are even worried about how asthma will affect their unborn child. Asthma flare-ups during pregnancy might lower blood oxygen levels, which reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the developing foetus, says the expert. As a result, the baby then is more likely to be born early, have a low birth weight, and develop slowly. Women with asthma also have a slightly increased risk of pre-eclampsia, or high blood pressure, and caesarean birth compared to women without asthma. Babies that arrive prematurely or too tiny are more likely to have neonatal health issues (how to take care of premature babies).

Tips for women with asthma to have a smooth pregnancy

First of all, you need to understand that having asthma is almost never a justification for not becoming pregnant. Make a plan with your doctor for your asthma medication throughout your pregnancy. Keep in mind that it’s crucial to manage your asthma while pregnant. Never begin or discontinue taking medication without first talking to your doctor.

Also, taking care to manage the asthma trigger around your environment during pregnancy will ensure that you’ve a smooth pregnancy experience.

To do this
• Avoid being around specific allergens known to aggravate your asthma symptoms, including pet dander (from hair, fur or feathers), household dust, and general irritants like cigarette smoke, overpowering perfumes, and pollution.
• If you are sensitive to home dust mites, protect your mattresses and pillows with plastic coverings or mite-proof encasing.
• Don’t smoke and stay away from environments where people smoke.

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