Complications Can Be Limited
"These findings support current practice guidelines that pregnant women with mild or moderate asthma be managed with Beta2 agonists, and that oral steroids should only be prescribed if asthma severity increases," says Michael Bracken, the Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology and professor of neurology and obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine.
Previous studies showed that use of oral steroids and theophylline, a smooth muscle relaxant, to manage asthmatic women may increase the risk of preterm delivery.
Bracken notes another important finding: women who have asthma symptoms, but are not diagnosed as having the disease, are very likely to be under-medicated and to have up to three times the risk of delivering a baby with fetal growth reduction. It is speculated that this developmental issue may be due to breathlessness in the mother, resulting in reduced oxygen supply to the fetus.
"This previously unidentified group of high risk mothers may need more active management of their symptoms to reduce pregnancy complication risks," says Bracken.