Asthma and Pregnancy
Having asthma does not necessarily mean having a complicated pregnancy. With proper management of asthma and the right care during the pregnancy, most women with asthma can have a healthy pregnancy.
Asthma is one of the most common health problems that can complicate a pregnancy. In some cases, a diagnosis of asthma is not made until a woman becomes pregnant. Asthma affects a woman during pregnancy in a variety of ways:
More than 1 in 3 women have no change in their asthma symptoms.
More than 1 in 3 pregnant women have more severe asthma symptoms.
Fewer than 1 in 3 pregnant women have improved asthma symptoms.
Symptoms may get worse as a woman gains weight during pregnancy.
Treating asthma the right way during pregnancy is important. Uncontrolled asthma can lead to the mother getting less oxygen. That, in turn, affects the fetus.
Uncontrolled asthma can lead to any of the complications listed below.
Possible complications for the mother
When not controlled, asthma can put extra stress on the mother, as well as on the fetus. Lack of oxygen will not only affect the mother, but also the fetus. Other complications from uncontrolled asthma for the mother are:
Preeclampsia (toxemia in pregnancy). This is a health problem of pregnancy marked by raised blood pressure, water retention, and protein in the urine.
Bleeding in pregnancy or hemorrhage after giving birth
Higher rate of C-section
Giving birth too early (preterm birth)
Pulmonary embolism. This is when a blood clot forms and travels to the lung. It is potentially life threatening.
Possible complications for the fetus
Lack of oxygen to the fetus from the mother can lead to many health problems in the fetus:
Intrauterine growth retardation. This is poor fetal growth in the womb. It causes the fetus to be smaller than normal for its gestational age.
Neonatal hypoxia. This is when the fetus does not get enough oxygen.
Are asthma medicines safe to use during pregnancy?
Most asthma medicines are not harmful to the fetus or to the nursing baby. In fact, uncontrolled asthma may actually put the mother and fetus at far greater risk than the medicine used to control asthma. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. He or she can develop an asthma treatment plan tailored to your symptoms.
How can a pregnant woman lower the chance of having an asthma attack?
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises a pregnant woman to take these steps to lower the risk of having an asthma attack during her pregnancy:
Stay away from asthma triggers, including tobacco smoke and other irritants.
Use asthma medicines throughout the pregnancy, labor, and birth, as advised by your healthcare provider.
Exercise with moderation. Use medicine properly if you have exercise-induced asthma and talk with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.
Make sure to get a flu shot, if you will be in your second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu (fall-winter) season.
When should a pregnant woman with asthma seek emergency medical treatment?
Even with a proper asthma management plan in place, a pregnant woman should know about certain warning signs that may point to an asthma attack, such as:
Current medicine does not give rapid improvement of symptoms.
Improvement from medicines does not last as long as it had before.
Breathing becomes harder.
Fetal kick count decreases. This may indicate fetal distress.
Always talk with your healthcare provider about what asthma attack warning signs to look for and when to seek emergency care.
Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNPSacks, Daniel, MD, FACOG
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2018
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
- Asthma in Children
- Asthma in Children Index
- Asthma Triggers
- Chronic Respiratory Disorders
- Digestive and Liver Disorders Overview
- Graves Disease in Pregnancy
- Home Page - Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
- Lupus and Pregnancy
- Maternal and Fetal Infections Overview
- Maternal and Fetal Testing Overview
- Medical Genetics: Teratogens
- Migraine Headaches During Pregnancy
- Neurological Conditions and Pregnancy
- Online Resources - Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
- Preconception Care
- Pregnancy and Medical Conditions
- Risk Factors for Pregnancy
- Sickle Cell Disease and Pregnancy
- Thyroid Conditions
- Topic Index - Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
- Chickenpox (Varicella) and Pregnancy
- Your Child's Asthma and Ozone
- Your Child's Asthma: Avoiding Triggers
- Your Child's Asthma: Flare-ups
- Your Child's Asthma: How Severe Is It?
- Your Child's Asthma: Nebulizer Treatments
- Your Child's Asthma: Peak Flow Meters, Oximeters, and Spirometers
- 5 Pregnancy Myths
- A Kids' Asthma Journal
- Albuterol inhalation aerosol
- Albuterol inhalation powder
- Albuterol inhalation solution
- Albuterol oral syrup
- Albuterol tablets or extended-release tablets
- Aminophylline oral tablet
- Asthma on Campus
- Avoid Getting Stuck with Constipation
- Be Wary of These Three Items
- Beclomethasone nasal spray
- Beclomethasone respiratory inhalation aerosol
- Betamethasone foam
- Betamethasone injection
- Betamethasone oral solution
- Betamethasone skin cream, gel, lotion, or ointment
- Betamethasone topical spray
- Bleeding During Early Pregnancy
- Budesonide gastro-resistant capsules and extended-release tablets
- Budesonide inhalation powder
- Budesonide inhalation solution
- Budesonide nasal spray
- Budesonide rectal foam
- Carbetapentane; Chlorpheniramine; Phenylephrine oral tablet
- Carbetapentane; Phenylephrine Oral Suspension
- Cortisone tablets
- Cromolyn Sodium eye solution
- Cromolyn Sodium inhalation aerosol
- Cromolyn Sodium inhalation solution
- Cromolyn Sodium nasal spray
- Cromolyn Sodium oral solution
- Dexamethasone eye drops
- Dexamethasone eye ointment
- Dexamethasone injection
- Dexamethasone intravitreal implant
- Dexamethasone oral solution
- Dexamethasone tablets
- Dyphylline tablets
- Ease Nausea with Natural Remedies
- Ease the Aches of Pregnancy with Exercise
- Ephedrine injection
- Epinephrine inhalation aerosol
- Epinephrine inhalation solution
- Epinephrine injection
- Epinephrine injection (Auto-injector)
- Epinephrine nasal spray
- Flunisolide inhalation aerosol
- Flunisolide nasal spray
- Fluticasone cream or ointment
- Fluticasone Furoate Nasal spray
- Fluticasone inhalation aerosol
- Fluticasone inhalation powder
- Fluticasone nasal spray
- Fluticasone; Salmeterol inhalation aerosol
- Fluticasone; Salmeterol inhalation powder
- Fluticasone topical lotion
- For the Sake of Your Baby, Skip the Alcohol
- For Twins or More: What to Consider in Your Third Trimester
- Formoterol inhalation powder
- Formoterol nebulizer solution
- Gentle Approach Can Beat Pregnancy-Related Hair Loss
- Having Multiples? Take Extra Care in the First Trimester
- Healthy Habits Are Extra Important During Pregnancy
- Helping Your Teen Manage Asthma
- Home Page - Pregnancy and Childbirth
- How are Low Birthweight and Smoking Related?
- How to Avoid Heartburn During Pregnancy
- How to Handle Dizziness During Pregnancy
- How to Keep Gestational Diabetes at Bay
- Hydrocortisone injection
- Hydrocortisone rectal aerosol foam
- Hydrocortisone rectal cream
- Hydrocortisone rectal enema
- Hydrocortisone skin cream, ointment, lotion, or solution
- Hydrocortisone suppositories
- Hydrocortisone tablets
- Hydrocortisone topical spray
- Keeping Up with the 9-to-5
- Levalbuterol inhalation aerosol
- Levalbuterol inhalation solution
- Lifting the Burden of Pregnancy Depression
- Manage Issues in the Workplace
- Managing Gestational Diabetes
- Managing Your Diabetes During Pregnancy
- Medicine and Pregnancy Don't Always Mix
- Metaproterenol inhalation aerosol
- Metaproterenol inhalation solution
- Metaproterenol oral syrup
- Metaproterenol tablets
- Methylprednisolone Solution for Injection
- Methylprednisolone Suspension for Injection
- Methylprednisolone tablets
- Montelukast chewable tablets
- Montelukast oral granules
- Montelukast oral tablets
- Nedocromil eye solution
- Nedocromil inhalation aerosol
- Omalizumab injection
- Pirbuterol Acetate Pressurized inhalation, suspension
- Planning a Pregnancy
- Prednisolone eye solution or suspension
- Prednisolone oral disintegrating tablet
- Prednisolone oral solution or syrup
- Prednisolone oral suspension
- Prednisolone tablets
- Prednisone delayed-release tablets
- Prednisone oral solution
- Prednisone tablets
- Pregnancy and Oral Health
- Pregnancy and Skin Changes
- Pregnancy: Common Questions
- Pregnancy Rhinitis: Relief for Ongoing Nasal Congestion Is Possible
- Pregnancy Safety for You and Your Little One
- Pregnant? Why You Should Know About Lead
- Risks to Pregnancy
- Safe Sleep During Pregnancy
- Salmeterol inhalation aerosol
- Salmeterol inhalation powder
- Steps to Reduce the Pressure on Your Legs
- Take Precautions When You Travel
- Take to the Water for Exercise
- Terbutaline injection
- Terbutaline tablets
- The Lungs in Pregnancy
- The Pregnant Mother
- Theophylline extended-release tablets or capsules
- Theophylline oral solution or syrup
- Topic Index - Pregnancy and Childbirth
- Triamcinolone dental paste
- Triamcinolone injection
- Triamcinolone nasal spray
- Triamcinolone oral inhaler
- Triamcinolone skin cream, ointment, lotion, or aerosol
- Triamcinolone tablets
- What Dad Can Expect When You’re Expecting
- Your Child's Asthma Action Plan at School
- Your Child's Asthma: First Office Visit
- Your Child's Asthma: School Strategies
- Zafirlukast tablets
- Zileuton tablets