Can you develop asthma during pregnancy?
There is no research that indicates you can develop asthma from being pregnant. However, pregnancy can cause asthma symptoms to worsen. It’s possible that a woman who does not realize she has mild asthma will recognize asthma symptoms for the first time while pregnant. However, most women with asthma are aware of their asthma prior to becoming pregnant.
Will asthma have any effect on my pregnancy and my baby?
If uncontrolled, severe asthma may be harmful to your developing baby. However, if well controlled, it should not have any effect on you or your baby.
Will my asthma worsen during pregnancy? Is there any greater risk during labor and delivery?
Your asthma may worsen, stay unchanged or possibly improve during pregnancy. Although it cannot be accurately predicted in a first pregnancy, asthma usually follows a similar pattern in the pregnancies that come after. For reasons not totally understood, asthma usually improves during labor and delivery, but even if a severe attack occurs, appropriate treatment can be given, and complications are rare.
Can I use asthma medicines safely while pregnant?
Most medicines used to treat asthma appear to be safe during pregnancy, especially those that have been around for many years and have been studied. Though no medicine has been proven entirely safe for use during pregnancy, your allergist will carefully balance medication risks and the need for symptom control. Your treatment plan will be individualized, so that potential benefits outweigh the potential risks of your medications or of uncontrolled asthma.
Since we cannot prove the safety of drugs taken while pregnant, should I stop taking my asthma medication as soon as I discover that I have become pregnant?
No. A moderate to severe asthma attack could be a risk to both you and the baby. The risks of stopping your medication are far greater than any potential risk to your baby from medication. Therefore, do not stop your regular asthma medication without first discussing it with your primary care physician or your allergist.
Are there any medications that should be avoided while pregnant?
Unless a life-threatening illness requires their use, the following medications should be avoided during pregnancy, either entirely or during certain stages:
- Sulfonamides (the sulfa drugs) are safe early in pregnancy, but their use in the last trimester might cause jaundice in your infant.
- Tetracyclines at any stage of pregnancy may cause skeletal and dental deformities.
Are other medications taken for my hay fever or other allergies also safe?
Many of them are safe. Consult your allergist before continuing antihistamines or nasal sprays, even if they are available over the counter.
How does severe, uncontrolled asthma adversely affect my baby?
The developing baby depends on you to supply oxygen for growth and survival. Uncontrolled asthma causes a decrease in your oxygen, which in turn reduces the oxygen flow to your baby. This may result in impaired growth or other complications.