Only 1 in 10 pregnant women with asthma will experience symptoms during labor and birth. And while there is no significant risk to the mother or unborn child if the symptoms are well-controlled, uncontrolled asthma can cause serious complications.
Effective asthma management while pregnant is the best thing a mother can do for the baby and herself.
The Important Of Effective Management
When a woman is pregnant, it is particularly important to manage the symptoms properly.
Asthma is a chronic, long-term condition in which there is narrowing and swelling in the airway and may produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger symptoms such as coughing and wheezing.
For some people, asthma symptoms are a minor nuisance. For pregnant women, it can be a major problem as it may lead to life-threatening attacks.
If asthma is not well controlled, both the mother and the baby can suffer from serious complications. These include high blood pressure (HBP), toxemia, premature delivery, and in severe cases, death. For the baby, there is an increased risk of stillbirth and health issues if symptoms are not controlled immediately.
According to the American National Institutes of Health, this condition affects four to twelve percent of women in their childbearing years. The good news is most methods for controlling the symptoms are not harmful to you and your developing baby.
Common Asthma Symptoms
The intensity of symptoms may vary on a day-to-day basis. In fact, research suggests the symptoms may stay the same or get worse during pregnancy.
Common symptoms may include:
- Tightness in the chest area
- Frequent coughing
- Shortness of breath
While these are symptoms to watch out for, there are also possible complications that mothers should be aware of. The most common pregnancy health issues that may arise are high blood pressure (preeclampsia), low birth rate, and increased chance of preterm labor and delivery.
Effective asthma management ensures you and your baby have a sufficient oxygen supply and decrease the chances of serious complications.
Asthma Management And First Aid
Here are three steps to effectively manage your condition for a healthy and safe pregnancy.
Monitor Your Asthma
Work with your doctor to monitor your lungs during pregnancy and adjust your medication if needed. Monitor if your symptoms improve or get worse over time.
Many pregnant women will experience shortness of breath during this period, but a trusted doctor and healthcare team can help you monitor and manage the symptoms.
Avoid The Triggers
Limiting your contact with allergens and other triggers is one of the keys to controlling asthma symptoms.
Common triggers may include allergies, extreme exercise, sudden weather changes, strong emotions, smoke, viruses, and other irritants. These are things that are harmless to most people but can cause flare-ups in pregnant women.
There are many medications that are safe to take while pregnant. Talk to your doctor to discuss your options on the best way to control your symptoms without putting the baby at risk.
If you are taking medications pre-pregnancy, do not stop intake without consulting your doctor. Suddenly stopping medicine intake could be harmful to you and the baby.
Asthma First Aid
Find out if the woman has an asthma action plan from their healthcare provider. Proceed with the plan and follow these first-aid steps.
Sit the woman in an uptight position and loosen any tight clothing. If they have asthma medication on hand (such as an inhaler), help them use it.
If an inhaler is available, remove the cap and shake it well. Insert the inhaler into the spacer and have the woman breathe out completely as they pit their mouth tightly around the mouthpiece.
Press the inhaler once to deliver a puff, then hold for ten seconds. Give a total of four puffs, with a minute in between.
Continue using the inhaler until the symptoms are better. Monitor the woman’s condition until help arrives.
Planning ahead of time with your doctor can help keep your asthma symptoms under control and reduce the risks during pregnancy. Know different treatment options and learn first aid to ensure a happy, healthy, and safe pregnancy.