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Pregnancy with Asthma

Preexisting asthma can make pregnancy a little more complicated, but if you keep it under control, you and your baby should be fine.

Asthma is a condition in which the airways of the lungs become blocked by muscle spasms, accumulation of mucus, and swelling of the airway walls. During an asthma attack, your chest feels tight, and you experience wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain, and/or cough. Asthma can be triggered by allergens such as pollen, mold, animal dander, feathers, and dust. Some women with asthma find that their symptoms improve during pregnancy, while some find that their symptoms worsen. Others find that pregnancy doesn't change their asthma symptoms.

Uncontrolled asthma can lead to complications that include increased risk of perinatal mortality, preeclampsia, preterm birth, and low birthweight.

Many asthma medicines are considered safe for pregnant women. Doctors prefer to prescribe inhaled medications because they have a more localized effect and only small amounts enter the bloodstream. However, certain oral medications can also be used.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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