When you’re pregnant, breathing for two is serious business. Your baby-to-be needs a steady supply of oxygen to fuel her growth and development. And if your own oxygen supply is compromised — say because you have untreated asthma — it could present a problem for the health of your pregnancy and baby.
How Common Is Asthma Asthma affects about 4 to 8 percent of pregnant women. Some — about a third of pregnant asthmatics — find their asthma improves gradually while they’re expecting. For another third, their condition stays about the same. And for the remaining 30 percent (usually those with the most severe form), the asthma worsens, usually between weeks 29 and 36 of pregnancy. If you’ve been pregnant before, you’re likely to find that your asthma behaves pretty much the same way in this pregnancy as it did in earlier ones.
Moms-to-be with asthma may find the shortness of breath that typically comes with late pregnancy of particular concern. But don’t worry — it’s normal, and it isn’t dangerous. Keep in mind, though, that as your growing uterus begins to crowd your lungs, you may notice that your asthmatic flare-ups worsen. Just be sure you treat these attacks quickly.
About 70% of people experiencing asthma have some allergies as well. Expecting mothers are not an exemption. Allergic rhinitis/hay fever can trigger asthma during pregnancy. Common allergens that trigger asthmatic attacks are pet dander, pollens, molds, dust mites, and cockroaches.
Expecting mothers are prone to infections. Both bacterial and viral infections can trigger an asthma attack during pregnancy. Respiratory infections such as a cold, flu, bronchitis, and even sinusitis can bring about asthma during pregnancy.
Irritants are things in the air that irritates the lungs and trigger asthma symptoms. Irritants, such as dust, dust mites, molds, feathers, pet dander are potentially capable of triggering the asthmatic symptoms. Any sort of air pollution, cigarette smoke and smoke from cooking or fireplaces can trigger the symptoms of asthma during pregnancy. Cold air and strong smells (like paint, sprays, perfumes, soaps and shampoo) Can also trigger asthma during pregnancy.
During physical exertion like vigorous or prolonged exercise, one tends to breathe faster through the mouth. Therefore, they inhale colder and drier air. The muscle bands around the airways of an asthma patient will be extremely sensitive to these changes in temperature and humidity. They will start contracting, which narrows the airway. This triggers the symptoms of asthma.
Asthma poses little or no risk if it is well in control before your pregnancy. However, if you have severe asthma or it is poorly controlled, it can pose a serious threat not only to you but also to your baby’s life. Remember, the baby in your womb rely on your breathing for its oxygen. And, asthma brings about the difficulty in breathing thereby bringing down the oxygen level considerably. Poorly controlled asthma can increase morning sickness, and may as well pave the way to a complicated labor and birth. However, it may be noted that asthma, if treated effectively would have little or no effect on your pregnancy.
Watch out for the following signs, which characterize the increased severity of asthma:
The symptoms of asthma tend to get worse when exposed to cold air or during the night
The anatomical changes during pregnancy may sometime increase the risk of the asthma attack in women who already have asthma. Similarly, the surging pregnancy hormones also have an effect on the asthmatic symptoms.
Asthma’s severity during pregnancy is linked to the severity before you got pregnant, as stated in a research. The growing size of the fetus pushes the organs upwards, thereby constricting windpipe. The course of asthma is quite unpredictable. 1/3 of the expecting mothers reports that their asthmatic symptoms improve during their pregnancy. Whereas, 1/3 of the expecting mothers reports that there was no evident change. On the other hand, one-third women reports their asthmatic symptoms aggravate during pregnancy, particularly, when the pregnancy get to the second trimester. For some of them, the symptoms start to aggravate during the first trimester itself. This, more often, happens when expecting mother stops the medication once gets pregnant. Usually, asthma seems to calm down in the third trimester. Remember, failure to control asthma during pregnancy is a cause for concern.
The pregnancy can progress smoothly, without any stress on the mother and child, provided the treatment plan chalked by the doctor is followed closely. So it’s in the best interest of you and your child to get asthma monitored by the experts.
Identifying and avoiding triggers: You need to check what spurs an asthmatic attack and avoid those situations. This is the most effective and reliable means of preventing and minimizing asthmatic attack during pregnancy. You should,