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Breathe easy Prenatal Care

Breathe easy

Attention expectant mamas: If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, here’s the scoop—straight from the experts—on how carrying a growing babe could affect your symptoms.

Risky business
Past studies suggest women with asthma (especially those whose asthma isn’t well controlled) are at a higher risk for certain pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia and preterm birth, says Michael Schatz, MD, MS, American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) principal investigator for Vaccines and Medications in Pregnancy Surveillance System (VAMPSS). Your little one depends on you for her oxygen, so uncontrolled asthma can lessen your oxygen, as well as baby’s.

If you suffer from asthma and are pregnant, talk to your doctor about scheduling a pulmonary function test—as well as allergy blood tests, if you haven’t been tested for allergies, to identify avoidable triggers.

Take care
Research has shown that a mom-to-be’s asthma symptoms can worsen, improve or stay the same as compared to prepregnancy. “The potential change in severity of asthma during pregnancy is one of the reasons pregnant asthmatic women need to be closely followed,” Schatz cautions, “so that any change in their condition can be matched with an appropriate change in therapy, [and] their asthma can be maintained.”

According to Schatz, it’s safe for pregnant women to stick with their asthma medications, which is why treatment isn’t altered during bump-bearing months (unless symptoms change). In fact, uncontrolled asthma appears to pose a greater danger to the health of you and your mini than currently used medications.

Study buddy
Most of the data on the safety of asthma medications during pregnancy is reassuring, Schatz says; however, more information means more certainty—especially as new treatment options become available. VAMPSS is conducting two types of studies to try to comprehensively assess the safety (or risk) of vaccines and medications taken by asthmatic women during expectant months—and how they might affect possible pregnancy complications.

The goal is to give moms-to-be and their doctors as much information available, so they can make the best medical decisions to keep both mama and her developing babe healthy. If you’d like to enroll or find out more, visit pregnancystudies.org or call (877) 311-8972.

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