Asthma is a common medical condition of the lungs caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors which lead to episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Pregnancy will affect asthma symptoms in different ways. One third of pregnant women will notice an improvement, one third will notice a worsening, and one third will notice little change.
Asthma episodes, if severe, can reduce the amount of oxygen that goes to your baby. This can cause preterm labor, poor fetal growth, and if severe, even stillbirths. As long as your asthma is well controlled in pregnancy, there are, however, usually few complications.
Because of the potential serious consequences of uncontrolled asthma, do let your health care provider know as soon as you are pregnant that you have asthma.
First of all, go over your medications with your provider. Most medications used for asthma are safe to use in pregnancy, but some will have to be changed. Based upon changes in your symptoms, your medication dosage might also need to be changed.
Talk to your provider about measures to help prevent asthma attacks. These include getting a flu shot, treating bacterial respiratory infections promptly and controlling heart burn symptoms aggressively. If you are already taking allergy shots, you can often continue taking them during pregnancy.
General recommendations also involve staying away from environmental triggers that can cause an asthma attack. If you have an asthma attack that is not controlled well by your usual medication, contact your health care provider immediately.