Complications Can Be Limited

Pregnant women with asthma can limit newborn complications if they actively manage their asthma with Beta2 agonists, commonly known as bronchodilaters, Yale University researchers reported in the October 2003 issue of O
Pregnant women with asthma can limit newborn complications if they actively manage their asthma with Beta2 agonists, commonly known as bronchodilaters, Yale University researchers reported in the October 2003 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Principal Investigator, Michael Bracken and his team studied 2,205 pregnant women from 56 obstetrical practices and 15 clinics associated with six hospitals in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Women were interviewed soon after their first prenatal visit at three selected times throughout pregnancy and soon after delivery. The team collected information about respiratory symptoms, medication use, hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Medical records provided information on pregnancy outcomes.

"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. PregnancyAndBaby.com

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