The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program is issuing new treatment guidelines for managing asthma during pregnancy. Poorly controlled asthma can lead to serious problems for pregnant women and their fetuses.
Medication can be increased, if needed, or decreased, when possible; it might be safer to take medications than to experience asthma exacerbations. If the mother has trouble breathing, the fetus will also have trouble getting oxygen.
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Maternal asthma is associated with an increased risk of infant death, pre-eclampsia, premature birth, and low birth weight.
Pregnant patients with persistent asthma should be checked at least monthly. Albuterol (e.g., Proventil®, Schering) should be available to provide quick relief of symptoms.
Women should limit their exposure to irritants (e.g., dust mites, tobacco smoke).