Asthma is the most common chronic condition for women in pregnancy. While Asthma control can affect pregnancy, pregnancy too can affect Asthma. Yet while pregnancy does not beget Asthma, neither does it abate.
Nevertheless, Asthma management during pregnancy is very important. Improper Asthma management, especially in difficult Asthma, during pregnancy may imperil both the mother and the child.
Along with taking the right medications, Asthma patients also need to avoid exposure to Asthma triggers.
Avoiding Asthma Triggers
Asthma triggers may be different for different people. In general, one or a few of the following act as Asthma triggers:
Allergens like pollen, dust mite etc.
Certain occupational exposure
Certain drugs like β‐blockers, aspirin etc.
Additives like tartrazine, monosodium glutamate etc.
Certain medical conditions like gastric reflux, rhinitis etc.
Apart from avoiding these Asthma triggers, she would also need to follow the instructions of her gynecologists. She should always be concerned that if the treatment is not working or if she is experiencing any trouble, she must consult with the gynecologists. She can also do some exercises to stay active and healthy.
However, she should always consult a doctor before doing any exercise, especially for those who have experienced Asthma attacks in the past.
Effects of Asthma on Pregnancy
Poor Asthma management and difficult Asthma before pregnancy are associated with increased risk of hypertension during pregnancy, which can beget Preeclampsia. Studies have also shown that women with Asthma tend to undergo Caesarean sections more than others. It has also been observed that Asthma may restrict the growth of the fetus leading to low birth weight.
However, this is more due to poor Asthma control such as persistent breathing difficulty or poor lung function etc., than Asthma per se.
Effects of Pregnancy on Asthma
Certain physiological factors during pregnancy do affect Asthma. In difficult Asthma, control usually deteriorates between 24 and 36 weeks of pregnancy, mainly due to poor adherence to corticosteroids. This is why pregnant women with Asthma should be monitored closely irrespective of the severity of Asthma.
Breathlessness in Pregnancy
Breathlessness during pregnancy is common. In fact, even pregnant women with no Asthma symptoms may feel breathless at times. It reflects some normal physiological and anatomical changes during pregnancy. Even anxiety may precipitate breathlessness. This indicates that pregnant women with difficult Asthma may feel breathless, not just because of Asthma, but also because of normal changes during this period. However, new incidents of Asthma can also be a cause of breathlessness.
Respiratory Distress in Pregnant Women
Respiratory distress in pregnant women may not always be due to asthma. There may be a whole host of reasons that include Anxiety, Hyperventilation, chest infection, dysfunctional breathing, pneumonia, interstitial lung disease, thromboembolic disease, amniotic fluid embolism, pneumothorax, ischemic heart disease, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy and a variety of endocrine, hematological and renal disorders.
Preventing Respiratory Distress During Pregnancy
Apart from avoiding Asthma triggers, pregnant women with Asthma or difficult Asthma need to strictly adhere to Asthma control. This indicates that they need to adhere to their corticosteroids religiously. However, before that, they also need to make sure that the corticosteroid is safe to be taken during pregnancy.
Asthma may or may not affect pregnancy. However, it is always a great idea to go for Asthma management. This will help women deal with complications related to Asthma during pregnancy.
Apart from that, always consult a doctor before going for any medication related to Asthma control, or actual treatment of Asthma.