The following feature about asthma and pregnancy has been put together to inform you about the following:
- What is asthma?
- Asthma and pregnancy – what you need to know
- Asthma In Pregnancy-How To Control Or Avoid It
- Pregnant women with asthma and fetal monitoring
- Asthma Medications And Pregnancy
- Stress in pregnancy may cause asthma in babies
What is asthma?
If you have ever experienced asthma, you will know that it is at the least very unpleasant, and in the more extreme circumstances extremely scary. The airways of your lungs become obstructed by what is basically a spasm of the muscles that surround them, as well as mucus which has accumulated, and swollen airway walls because of inflammatory cells which have gathered.
The good news about asthma is that for those of us who have suffered from it, they know that we are prone to it, it is often possible to control it and avoid situations which may trigger it.
The initial feeling normally is like a tightening of the chest, and if you’ve had asthma before becoming pregnant, you normally recognise this and know that you need to be alert about your environment, which may include allergens, or perhaps you asthma has been triggered by stress, infections or exercise.
If asthma is kept well controlled, it should have no effect on your pregnancy, or labour or breastfeeding. It is unlikely that you will get asthma during pregnancy if you didn’t have the condition previously. However women who may have forgotten having asthma when they were young children need to be aware that they are candidates for a re-occurrence of asthma in pregnancy.
In general the milder the asthma, the less likely it is for any significant change in the asthmatic symptoms during pregnancy to occur. However regardless of this, the most important first step is to establish an asthma pregnancy action plan with your doctor. This means that as an asthmatic you can be prepared for pregnancy, and then during pregnancy this can be reviewed, along with your lung function, every so often with your doctor.
If you have asthma you will fully appreciate that horrible feeling of trying to breathe, when the asthma becomes severe. This comes from the fact that the small tubes which carry air to and from your lungs are more sensitive. For people who have asthma these small tubes can become irritated and swollen, also causing the tubes to narrow. Then this can cause coughing, wheezing and possible a tightening in the chest, which in some cases can become extreme.
So along with a pre-planned asthma pregnancy action plan it is wise to adopt a healthy eating and healthy habits plan before becoming pregnant, as if done appropriately, this should strengthen you system overall. You may even wish to consider some yoga, tai chi or other practices which focus on breathing and movement, in a gentle way.
Asthma and pregnancy – what you need to know
So the funny thing is that sometimes the effects of pregnancy on your asthma may in fact be positive. In fact for those women who are pregnant with asthma, the potential effects of the condition during pregnancy can be quite different. One third of women will actually see an improvement in their asthma, one third will experience no changes and one third will find that their asthma symptoms become worse.
If you have been pregnant before, however, most likely you can predict what will happen on your next pregnancy regarding your asthma. It tends to be the case that the effects of your pregnancy on your asthma will be the same throughout successive pregnancies.
The peak of asthma triggers and exacerbations during pregnancy on most common between pregnancy weeks 24 to 36, with under 10% or even less of patients experiencing symptoms when in labour and delivery.
Oestrogen which increased during pregnancy also contributes to your tiny blood vessels becoming congested in your nose is lining. This then triggers a stuffy nose during pregnancy, in particular during your third trimester. Additionally a rise in progesterone is responsible for an increase in respiratory drive, as well as feeling shortness of breath.
Sometimes these two aforementioned issues can easily be confused with other trends or other situations which may trigger your asthma. Keeping in close contact with your doctor during this time and of course using peak flow instruments will help your doctor to know if you asthma was caused by a normal trigger for because of your pregnancy.
During pregnancy you should continue on your asthma medication and carry out an asthma pregnancy action plan. Did you know that it is very often the women who stop taking their regular asthma preventer who have a higher risk of a serious asthma attack?
For women who do encounter a worsening of their symptoms, some urgent medical care may be necessary. As an asthmatic, avoiding stress and allergens can be of some help to avoid the worsening of symptoms.
There is evidence that babies born to women who have had uncontrolled severe asthma have lower birth weights, and can also be born prematurely. A good asthma pregnancy action plan aims to avoid these occurrences.
Asthma in pregnancy-how to control or avoid it
There is a very strong connection between allergies and asthma – between 75 to 85% of asthmatic patients are known to be allergic to at least one substance, if not more, such as dust mites, moulds, pylons, animal dander, for, cockroaches and so on.
Other triggers may involve the likes of paint fumes, chemical fumes, tobacco smoke, streams mouth, smog and ozone issues, some medications also such as aspirin, other medications which may treat the likes of BP, heart disorders and migraines, and of course this list is not exhaustive.
Here are some tips to help for eight or control asthma triggers during pregnancy:
- Wash your bed linen each week to kill the dust mites, at temperatures of 130°F.
- Seal your pillows, mattresses, and your bed springs in casings which are dust might prove – if you aren’t aware of these yourself, contact your allergist who will be out to inform you about this.
- The humidity in your house should be under 50% in order to control mould and dust mites growth
- If pets are causing your allergies, you may wish to remove them as much as possible from the house, but certainly do keep them out of the bedroom all the time during your pregnancy.
- Naturally enough being pregnant you will automatically want to avoid tobacco smoke, chemical fumes and exposure to all those kind of nasty substances.
- Close the windows and doors of your house at times where the pollution and Palin are at their highest – this is often between 5 AM to 10 AM in the morning. This will of course depend on location.
- When hoovering be sure to use filter bags which control the airborne dust, and if there is someone else at home could do this to help you, by all means feel free to ask them when you’re pregnant.
Pregnant women with asthma and fetal monitoring
If you do suffer with asthma when you’re pregnant, you may feel the need yourself, or it may be recommended by your medical practitioner to have some extra Fetal monitoring. You may wish to go for an early pregnancy scan, and keep a close eye on progress by going from regular scans.
Your medical team will definitely advise more frequent Fetal assessment if you are a patient who is experiencing significant asthma symptoms during your third trimester.
Asthma medications and pregnancy
Remember that the vast majority of asthma medications which are used to treat asthma have a far lower risk to an unborn baby than the possible effects of a severe or uncontrolled asthma attack. Of course you will always want to work very closely with your medical team one way or the other, during pregnancy, so be sure not to feel you are being overly anxious or nervous. The best approach is to take extra care during this time.
Inhaled preventer medications are used by pregnant women worldwide safely. In rare cases of very severe attacks, there are some medications that may need to be used, when all other medications have not been successful. These do carry risks but these situations are infrequent and your doctor would explain the risks to you.
Stress in pregnancy may cause asthma in babies – Medical Study
Apart from taking good care of yourself and your unborn baby, another super important reason to be prepared for asthma or any other condition that may affect your pregnancy, is to de-stress yourself as much as humanly possible.
In August 2014, Medical News Today published a feature entitled – “Stress in pregnancy linked to offspring’s asthma risk” about a new medical study. It has been known previously that stress carries a range of health problems, which includes the likes of depression and heart disease. Now it has been shown in a new study that maternal stress can actually be linked to an increased risk in asthma for the newborn baby. This of course can be added to other issues that are related to stress in pregnancy, such as a low birth weight, developmental problems and premature birth.
All articles on the blog and website are intended as information only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.