Though it’s the most common chronic disease found in children across the world, many adults also struggle with asthma every day and are required to use an inhaler to help them breathe when they have an attack. Even though asthma is considered a disease that mainly afflicts children, it may also have severe repercussions for women during child bearing ages as well.

New research has suggested that asthma has a negative effect on pregnancy and it might cause some women to take longer to conceive. Researchers from Bispebjerg University Hospital in Denmark analyzed data gathered from questionnaires completed by a group of over 15,000 twins living in Denmark aged up to 41 years.

The questionnaires included questions about medical history and the presence of asthma in their family tree. Twins were used in the research because they not only allow direct comparisons to be made between twin sisters, but because twins also comprise a sample representative of the whole population since they’re born into all social groups and researchers are able to avoid measuring genetic and lifestyle information from every single person in the study.

The participants were divided into two groups, those with asthma, and those without. Within the asthma group, the participants were again divided so that there was a group for women with treated asthma and untreated asthma. All participants were then asked if they had been trying to get pregnant without success for a year or more. They were also asked the number of existing children they had already given birth to.

It was found that 955 participants had asthma and many women had experienced a delay in pregnancy compared to the non-asthmatic group. Interestingly enough, the women with untreated asthma experienced an even longer period of time trying to conceive without success. In fact, 30.5% of women in the untreated group experienced infertility issues compared to the 23.8% of women in the treated group.

Another factor that seemed to prolong pregnancy was age. Women above the age of 30 with asthma had an even stronger tendency towards a long waiting time to pregnancy.

At the end of the study, lead author, Dr. Elisabeth Juul Gade said that their results “shed light on the complex interactions between fertility and asthma. Although we observed women with asthma experiencing longer waiting times to pregnancy, our findings suggest that if women take their medication and control their asthma, they can reduce this delay. As the negative effect of asthma on fertility is reduced by treatment, we can assume that the systemic inflammation characterized by asthma may account for the effect on delaying fertility.”

Source: European Lung Foundation (2013, November 13). Women with asthma could face delay in becoming pregnant. ScienceDaily.

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