Sometimes people ask me what happens to their asthma when they are pregnant. Well, like everything else with asthma - it is different for every person. As you can see from the graphic from Allergy & Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA):
1/3 will get better
1/3 will stay the same
1/3 will get worse
When I was expecting my three children, I always worried about what would affect the baby. Foods? Medicines? Caffeine? Strenuous exercise?
Will my asthma affect my baby?
Doctors know that if mom isn't breathing well, that reduces the oxygen to the baby. Since the baby gets oxygen from the mom's blood, she needs to control her asthma so she's getting all the oxygen she needs.
If mom's asthma is not controlled, it might affect baby's growth and survival in utero.
Controlling asthma while pregnant
Avoiding your asthma triggers is important to reduce the chance of having an asthma attack. Like anything else with asthma, this varies by person too. So, know what YOUR asthma triggers are.
Is it time to change your inhaler?
I'm still surprised by the people who THINK their asthma is just fine. Is yours? The Rule of Two's from Baylor University is a quick way to find out.
If you are still struggling with asthma, there are a lot of options. Check out this poster from Allergy & Asthma Network - it lists every asthma medicine on the market. See that rainbow of inhalers? There are a lot of options out there, so talk to your doctor if you feel like you need a different dose or different inhaler.
And when it's time to deliver, AAFA says:
"When asthma is under control, asthma attacks almost never occur during labor and delivery. Also, most women with well-controlled asthma are able to perform breathing techniques during their labor without difficulty."
It would be nice to have one less thing to worry about during delivery! And for you moms that are having c-sections, I feel your pain! (Seriously - I had 3 c-sections!)
And after delivery?
If your asthma changed while you were pregnant, most women will see their asthma return to what it was before they were pregnant (it can take about 3 months.)
So if you are pregnant, remember to take care of yourself - including your asthma. And once you deliver, you can snuggle that sweet little baby!