Asthmatic mothers-to-be everywhere can breathe easier knowing the medications they relied upon before becoming pregnant are the best course of treatment during pregnancy, too. The latest edition of the medical journal, The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist (TOG), carries the review of a recent study that indicates it’s much safer for women and their babies to continue effective asthma treatments throughout pregnancy than to suffer through the effects and consequences of ineffectively treated asthma.

Asthma is the most common chronic medical condition treated during pregnancy, affecting as many as 10 percent of all pregnant women. If not treated effectively, hypertension can develop. Low birth weight, premature birth, and an increased need for cesarean section deliveries are also associated with poorly treated asthma. While concerns over medications for any condition become especially acute during pregnancy, standard asthma medications are considered safe for expectant mothers. Controlling asthma symptoms with effective treatment measures is preferable to doing without them.

Chris Brightling, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University Hospitals of Leicester in the United Kingdom, says, “standard therapy may be safely used in pregnancy...along with close surveillance from midwives (and) obstetricians.” He further states that women suffering from severe asthma may need to consult a respiratory physician. Brightling, a co-author of the review, is also an Honorary Consultant Physician.

According to the review, asthma symptoms may not change at all during pregnancy; however, some women will experience an increase in symptoms while others experience fewer or less severe symptoms. Approximately 60 percent of women suffering severe asthma before pregnancy are likely to experience a deterioration in control versus women who experience mild symptoms, about 10 percent of whom see symptoms worsen. Good news is that most asthma symptoms return to normal within a few months after delivery.

Women who do experience asthma symptoms during pregnancy are urged to discuss them with their medical team during pregnancy. Close medical monitoring throughout the pregnancy will ensure the safest outcome for both mother and baby. Once the baby is born, his or her pediatrician should be advised of the mother’s asthma condition and what medications or other treatments she used during pregnancy.

Jason Waugh, editor in chief of TOG, emphasizes the importance of education in effective asthma treatment, especially during pregnancy. He says that understanding the condition, educating oneself on treatment options, maintaining an effective treatment regimen, and avoiding triggers are the keys to comfort and well-being for all asthma patients and these measures are especially important during pregnancy.

Source: Wiley. "Good asthma control during pregnancy is vital." ScienceDaily, 6 Sep. 2013. Web. 17 Sep. 2013.