Asthma during pregnancy is a great concern not only for the prospective mother’s health but also for her foetus’s well-being. Survival of the foetus depends on the air his/her mother breathes. Due to an incidence of asthma attack, the mother may experience cough, wheeze or breathlessness, thereby not giving enough oxygen to the foetus. Asthma is a great risk for foetus as oxygen deprivation can even cause death of foetus.
A woman with uncontrolled asthma prior to pregnancy tends to experience more pregnancy complications. Baby of a mother with uncontrolled asthma is more likely to be born prematurely (preterm), small or underweight at birth etc. The baby may also require long medical supervision after birth. Uncontrolled asthma can also land prospective mother under the increased risk of vaginal haemorrhage, preeclampsia or hypertension.
Asthma medications, which a woman may be taking before getting pregnant, should not be discontinued during pregnancy. Discontinuation of asthma medications out of fear that it might cause harm to the foetus will worsen asthma leading to severe complications in pregnancy or at childbirth. Deterioration of asthma control during pregnancy tends to worsen the asthmatic symptoms and attack, especially between six to eight months. Incidents of asthma attack during childbirth are rarely reported. To effectively control asthma, it is better that you let your gynaecologist know about your asthma from the beginning of your pregnancy.
An asthmatic pregnant woman needs to be extra vigilant about her condition because asthmatic symptoms during pregnancy can be worse than usual. Asthma attack in pregnancy can be more alarming than it is otherwise. If a pregnant woman witnesses asthma symptoms such as chest tightness or bout of breathlessness, she must get immediate medical assistance. Travelling to remote areas or living in poorly ventilated spaces should be completely avoided. Foods that trigger asthma attack or symptoms must not be consumed.
Leukotriene inhibitor- These drugs work by blocking the substance that causes swelling and spasm of airways. All leukotriene are not as effective as inhaled steroids, but are considered safe during pregnancy. Some popular leukotriuene are montelukast (Singulair),zafirlukast (Accolate), and zileuton (Zyflo).
Long-acting beta-agonist inhalers: are generally used in combination with inhaled steroids to relieve night-time symptoms. These inhalers take time to act against asthma symptoms and therefore, are not used to treat severe symptoms. Some long-acting beta-agonists include salmeterol (Serevent) and formoterol (Foradil).
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