Asthma and Pregnancy

Asthma is one of the most common health problems that complicate pregnancy and good control of asthma during pregnancy is essential for the delivery of a healthy infant.  Asthma may occur for the first time during pregnancy. In many cases, asthma may not be immediately recognized since many pregnant women experience shortness of breath.  An accurate diagnosis may be made, however, through tests of breathing function.

The course of asthma during pregnancy varies considerably. In approximately one third of pregnant asthmatics, the condition improves while another third of patients worsen and the remaining third stay the same.

It is important for the pregnant asthmatic to recognize that she is “breathing for two” and that the developing fetus receives oxygen from her circulation. Uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy may produce serious complications for both the mother and the developing baby. It should be emphasized that when asthma is properly controlled, pregnant asthmatics do not have more complications during pregnancy and delivery than non-asthmatics. 

The care of asthma during pregnancy should be coordinated with obstetrical care. Close communication between the obstetrician and the asthma specialist is important for a successful pregnancy. These physicians provide a management strategy for the pregnant asthmatic.

The goals of treatment of asthma during pregnancy are to control symptoms, maintain normal lung function and oxygen levels, maintain normal activities including exercise and to deliver a healthy baby.

An effective management strategy for asthma during pregnancy includes the use of objective measurements of the mother’s lung function, avoidance of asthma triggers, and a medication plan. There are several medications which are safe and effective during pregnancy. Asthmatics should take an active role in the management of their illness, especially in the monitoring of its activity and the avoidance of known triggers that may produce an attack.

If you have any further questions please contact our hotline:

Ellen Epstein, M.D. FAAAAI
Adult and Pediatric Allergy
165 N. Village Ave.-Suite 141
Rockville Centre, NY 11570

Dr. Ellen Epstein is a Board Certified Adult and Pediatric Allergist in practice since 1986. Dr. Epstein earned her M.D. degree from New York University School of Medicine. She teaches at and is on the staff of Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Franklin Hospital Medical Center and South Nassau Communities Hospital. She and her staff provide expert professional treatment in a warm and caring atmosphere.


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