Asthma Control Is Critical During Pregnancy

Pregnant women with asthma should take special care to keep their asthma in check.

Canadian researchers have found that asthma attacks during pregnancy are associated with a number of serious health problems for both mother and child.

The observational study, in The European Respiratory Journal, used data on 103,424 pregnancies in women with asthma. Exacerbations — shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing or chest tightness — that required medical attention occurred in 4,455 of the pregnancies.

After adjusting for other factors, compared with women who had no exacerbations, those who did had a 30 percent increased relative risk for pre-eclampsia, the dangerously high blood pressure of pregnancy. They also had a 14 percent increased risk for having a low birth weight baby, a 14 percent increased risk for preterm birth, and a 21 percent increased risk for having a baby with a congenital malformation.

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