If you have serious asthma, you know how difficult it can be to control. Many different medications are sometimes necessary, and these medications are not usually an issue for women with asthma until they become pregnant. When you are pregnant, every drug seems like it could hinder the development of your child. We all strive for the most natural birth possible, but sometimes that is not an option. Women with asthma must continue their medications through the duration of gestation. If you have asthma and are thinking about becoming pregnant, or if you are already pregnant and are struggling with the idea of taking medications, know that the side effects of asthma treatment on fetal development are unknown. There have been no studies that showed concrete evidence either way, and there have been few instances to raise concern.
While the side effects of asthma medication are indefinite, a recent study was conducted to determine whether or not women with asthma have a lower quality of life based on their beliefs about medication. The results showed that women overall greatly overestimate the fetal risks of asthma medication, which in turn affects their quality of life. If you have asthma and must take medication during your pregnancy, keep in mind that there could be little to no effect on your child. Much of the reason for a lower quality of life for women who are pregnant is simply based on perception. They tend to worry about things that are not necessarily an issue. Similarly, results showed that women who used inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) to maintain their asthma were more anxious about its effects than women who only used asthma medication occasionally. Their quality of life was reduced in turn.
When it comes to managing asthma during your pregnancy, the only things keeping you from a happy and successful gestation are likely your own worries and anxieties. Always consult your physician if you are really worried about the effects of your illness on your child, but don’t let your asthma stand in the way of a contented pregnancy. Beliefs about the harmful effects of asthma medication and general anxiety are the only proven reasons that women with asthma have a less than pleasant gestation. Similarly, never discontinue using your medication during your pregnancy to ease your mind without consulting a physician first, as it could put you and your baby at great risk.
Source: Heather Powell et al: Psychosocial Outcomes are Related to Asthma Control and Quality of Life in Pregnant Women with Asthma. Journal of Asthma Volume 48 Issue 10 pp. 1032-1040 December 2011