Asthma is a common problem that most pregnant women encounter. Due to asthma, the normal supply of the oxygen can be compromised and make you as well as your baby oxygen deficient. So, if oxygen deficiency lasts throughout the pregnancy, your child can be born with mental or physical abnormalities including cerebral palsy.
Even so, there is no cure for asthma. In fact, if you’ve achieved the asthma remission phase and you’re healthy enough right now, you won’t have an idea when your asthma flares-up and worsens, regardless if you’re expecting or not.
Of course, experiencing asthma during pregnancy is dangerous for you and your fetus, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t manage its symptoms. Not only can you manage asthma attacks, further complications can also be reduced.
So before revealing the complete story of asthma during pregnancy, you should know what asthma is and what it can do to your health?
Asthma-the disease of lungs
Your blood supply gets fresh oxygen through the gaseous exchange of oxygen at the cellular level of lungs. You breathe and your respiratory tract provides the passage of fresh air into the lungs. But when the respiratory tract is constricted enough, the fresh oxygen supply will become problematic. That’s exactly what occurs during asthma. Now you would be thinking why is it happening? Due to any allergen, your respiratory tract becomes hyperactive and it constricts. Consequently, the passage is usually narrowed down and oxygen supply is compromised.
Does asthma affect pregnancy?
Why not!!! Out of 100 women, around 8% are commonly affected by asthma during pregnancy. By keeping control over asthma, it won’t cause any abnormalities during pregnancy.
Uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy can lead to a number of problems to you and your baby’s health. You can develop preeclampsia, which is a life-threatening condition. In this condition, your blood pressure would be higher and your vital organs, including kidneys and liver, would not be functioning properly. If you’re experiencing vision changes, protein in urine and severe headache, then report to the doctor immediately! However, if you’re not controlling asthma, premature births, low birth weight, vaginal bleeding, severe morning sickness, restricted fetal growth, and complicated labor are the consequences of this negligence.
In more severe and extreme cases, your baby’s life will be jeopardized.
Asthma worsens due to pregnancy
According to the classification, asthma is divided into four categories, ranging from mild to severe. Pregnancy can make asthma worse, or improved or even unchanged. However, latest studies suggest that severity of asthma during pregnancy is directly related to the severity of asthma prior to pregnancy. If the asthma is uncontrolled and severe before pregnancy, you’re more predisposed to a severe attack of asthma.
If symptoms of asthma get better, then you would see the improvement in your condition. Generally, worse symptoms of asthma are noticed from week 29 to week 36 of pregnancy.
Your medication routine also influences asthma symptoms. If you stop taking medicines, your symptoms will flare-up.
Warning signs to watch out!
You should know how you would feel when asthma worsens. Here are the following symptoms that you should look for:
1. Constant cough, especially early in the morning or at night
2. Chest tightness
5. Flu and cold
If you’re experiencing any one of the symptoms, you should visit the doctor as soon as possible.
Taking medications during pregnancy
Can you take medications during pregnancy? Is it safe? Will it cause any side effects? Whatever medications would certainly have impact on your baby. If systemic glucocorticoids are taken during pregnancy, it can cause infants oral clefts, low birth weight, preeclampsia, and premature birth. Nevertheless, taking pills during pregnancy is a 100% safer approach. Instead of suffering from asthma attacks more frequently, keeping the medicines in a routine will help you remit asthma. Having trouble breathing is a sign that your body doesn’t have sufficient oxygen to fulfill the the baby’s oxygen demands.
By consulting with your doctor during prenatal visits, you would get the safest medicines at the most appropriate dosage. Just don’t even try to adjust the medicines on your own. And don’t even think about stopping medicines abruptly. Regular monitoring and screening will help to do the adjustments in your medicines.
Don’t worry about allergy shots. If you’ve started allergy shots before getting good news, you can keep continuing it. But most of the gynecologist won’t recommend it using during pregnancy. In fact, allergic shots can cause anaphylaxis, a serious and life-threatening condition of a mother and baby.
Factors that can exacerbate asthma symptoms
Around 70%, allergens are the common trigger for activating asthma. Air pollution, cigarette smoking or even smokes from wood burning stoves are other causes that can worsen asthma.
Cold, flu or viral pneumonia are other potential culprits. Exercise-induced-asthma can also let you feel the height of the symptoms.
Hence, if you know the factors that are exacerbating asthma, you can keep an eye on your condition more profoundly.
What measures you should do while preparing for gestation?
If you’ve a history of asthma, try to fix the preconception appointment with your doctor who is handling your allergic issues, pregnancy-related problems, and general issues. With regular visits, s/he will make changes in your medications before after evaluating your current condition. Also, s/he will guide you about any serious emergency related to asthma during pregnancy. As pregnancy can worsen asthma, your health care provider will closely monitor your health status.
What can you do to prevent the complications?
Not a single pregnant lady would want to be unhealthy throughout the gestation period. If you really want to prevent complications of asthma during pregnancy, you should implement all the following measures in your life.
• Don’t ignore your medications
Missing medications could open a variety of problems. You would see the ups and downs in the symptoms more frequently. Because of the worsening symptoms, your baby won’t get the ample supply of oxygen. So, in order to prevent this, you should take the prescribed medicine on time. If symptoms are not tapering down due to medicines, report to your doctor immediately.
• Your prenatal appointments are very important
As you know that anything serious can happen during pregnancy, prenatal appointments are extremely important for your overall well-being. Ask questions frequently if you have any. Let your health care provider know your mood swings, anxiety and depression episodes.
• Control triggers
Most importantly, if you know the triggers, asthma can be controlled in a better way. Whenever you’re closer to the trigger, just avoid it as much as you can.
• Control Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is a chronic digestive disease, characterized as acid reflux and heartburn. Undoubtedly, it can worsen asthma. If you’re experiencing GERD, elevate your head of your bed, avoid eating the triggering foods, eat in the smaller quantity and after eating, wait for about three hours before going to bed.
So take these little, yet, essential measures to control asthma and be asthma-free throughout your pregnancy!