You will likely experience changes in your asthma symptoms during pregnancy. This does not mean that your asthma will worsen. Approximately one-third improve, one-third worsen, and one-third remain unchanged. In other words, you will notice your asthma symptoms differently, and this is not uncommon.
It's important that you continue to use your asthma medications at least as regularly as before you became pregnant. Insufficiently treated asthma poses a greater risk to the fetus than any potential risks associated with the medications. Studies support that long-term treatment with several asthma medications as inhaled cortisone, bronchodilators, or antileukotrienes does not have a proven association with premature birth or an increased frequency of fetal abnormalities. If you are unsure about your medications, it is important that you consult with your healthcare provider so that you feel confident about following the treatment recommendations.
How does asthma affect pregnancy?
Many women with asthma experience changes in their symptoms during pregnancy. Approximately one-third improve, one-third worsen, and one-third remain unchanged. In other words, if you notice your asthma symptoms changing, it's not unusual.
Being pregnant puts extra strain on the respiratory system, and even those who do not suffer from asthma may experience more shortness of breath and impact on breathing during pregnancy. That’s why it’s especially important that you, as a pregnant person with asthma, are aware of symptoms, treatment, and self-care for asthma during your pregnancy so that you can feel as good as possible.
Shortness of breath from asthma is more persistent and usually lasts long after activity. Symptoms that distinguish asthma from "normal shortness of breath" include coughing, wheezing, whistling exhalation, and shortness of breath or pressure over the chest. If you experience any of these symptoms, it probably means that your asthma is not fully controlled and you need to increase your dosage or the treatment needs adjustment.
The overall goal of asthma treatment is to achieve optimal control over the asthma. This is especially true during pregnancy, as well-controlled asthma not only promotes your health as an expectant mother but also the health of the fetus. It is therefore of utmost importance for you as a pregnant person with asthma to learn about factors that can exacerbate your symptoms and understand the importance of using medication and treatment to prevent deterioration.
What happens with untreated and/or uncontrolled asthma?
Untreated or uncontrolled asthma can have negative effects on the child. For pregnant women who do not manage their asthma condition, the risk of conditions such as preeclampsia increases. This can in turn lead to complications such as premature birth and low birth weight in the child. To reduce the risk of uncontrolled asthma, it’s important that you adjust your treatment according to your current well-being, meaning that you take more medication when the inflammation in the airways increases and less when you feel better. An individualized treatment plan where you follow treatment recommendations based on current well-being lowers the risk of uncontrolled asthma.
What is the most common trigger for asthma worsening in pregnant women?
Colds caused by a virus or not taking your asthma medication (inhaled cortisone) are the most common triggers for worsening asthma.
Are asthma medications safe to take during pregnancy?
Yes! When it comes to your asthma, it is important that you use asthma medications in the amounts prescribed by your healthcare provider. Inhaled cortisone are the most common treatment for asthma and are safe to take throughout pregnancy.
If your asthma worsens, you may also need cortisone in tablet form. Cortisone in tablet form, like other asthma medications we’ve mentioned, is not considered to increase the risk to the fetus, as long as the dosage follows your healthcare provider's prescription.
The risks associated with untreated asthma are greater than the risks associated with asthma medications. Contact your healthcare provider if you are unsure or have questions about specific medications. It’s important that you feel confident in taking your treatment.
How can I best manage my asthma during pregnancy?
Taking care of yourself is a central part in getting your asthma under control, and educating yourself and understanding your disease are crucial steps in this process. You’re already on the right track to optimize the management of your asthma. Since asthma is a disease that can vary over time, it is important to be able to adjust your treatment according to your current needs.
Treatment and Self-Care: - Follow your treatment recommendations. - Contact your healthcare provider if you are unsure about your treatment or experience insufficient effect from your treatment. The goal is for you to be symptom-free from your asthma! - In addition, it’s important that you have a correct inhalation technique so the medication you’re taking is getting to the right part of your airways and actually helping. If you’re unsure, you should contact your healthcare provider, they’ll be able to check your inhalation technique. - Avoid things that trigger your asthma, such as strong scents, cold/heat, furry animals, smoke, stress. - Exercise and recover as needed. - Avoid allergens. - Obesity or being overweight can make it more difficult to get your asthma under control. - Breathing techniques: learn relaxation and breathing techniques such as deep breathing exercises and yoga. These techniques can help you manage stress and reduce the risk of asthma attacks. - Avoid infections.
Summary The goal of asthma treatment is full asthma control and a day to day that’s free from symptoms. If you experience symptoms, it means that your asthma is not well-controlled and you should contact your healthcare provider to optimize your treatment. Do you want to gain better control of your asthma and help to adjust your treatment to optimize your well-being? Are you someone who has asthma or suspects you may have asthma, then you might want to try AsthmaTunerTuner. Asthma is a variable disease meaning symptoms and lung function can vary from day to day and with the help of AsthmaTuner, you get support in how to adjust your treatment through those changes. With AsthmaTuner’s tools, not only will you gain increased insight into your unique symptoms but also take steps toward symptom-free living.
What tools can I use to ensure that my asthma is controlled during pregnancy? Monitoring your asthma is essential for controlling symptoms, maintaining normal lung function, and optimizing medication without under- or over-medicating. AsthmaTuner offers a digital asthma management solution. By using this app in combination with a small, bluetooth connected lung function meter, you can easily follow the status of your asthma and adjust your treatment as needed.
References: - Astma- & allergiförbundet - BAMSE - Nationellt kliniskt kunskapsstöd - janusinfo.se - 1177.se