You Can Have A Healthy Pregnancy Too!
Jane Forester, DO
What can I do to manage an asthmatic condition during pregnancy?
Family Physician Jane Forester, DO, answers
The incidence of asthma in pregnancy is about 1 percent, and about 15 percent of these individuals develop one or more severe attacks during pregnancy. Severe uncontrolled asthma is associated with a high abortion rate, fetal death and fetal growth retardation, most probably due to the resulting lack of oxygen in the baby.
Fortunately, studies have shown consistently that asthmatics under close, expert medical supervision before and throughout their pregnancies (often a pulmonologist in conjunction with an obstetrician) have as good a chance of having normal pregnancies and healthy babies as nonasthmatics.
You must take several precautions, which will be reviewed by your treating physician. These include but are not limited to:
- Excellent baseline pulmonary function testing and a chest film (with abdominal shielding) to obtain a starting point
- Quitting smoking at once
- Knowing and avoiding environmental triggers
- Treating respiratory infections early and aggressively
- Avoiding excessive physical activity
- Immediately and aggressively treating any asthma attack with the prescribed medication to avoid starving the baby of oxygen.
If something doesn't feel right, call your doctor or head for the closest emergency room. Remember: You're breathing for two.
If you are well educated on your condition, you have situated yourself to have a safe, wonderful pregnancy and a beautiful outcome.