Pregnancy and Asthma: What to Watch Out For

Pregnancy and asthma can be a dangerous mix. If you're pregnant and an asthma sufferer, take special care to prevent asthma attacks - particularly in your first trimester, researchers say. Asthma flare-ups during pregnancy significantly raise the risk of birth defects in your baby.

Canadian researchers have determined that expectant moms who suffer an asthma flare-up in their first trimester are 48 percent more likely to have a baby with at least one congenital defect than asthmatic women who don't have a flare-up in those first three months. The researchers studied more than 4,300 pregnancies and found that, among the babies whose mothers suffered a flare-up in the first trimester, 12.8 percent had a birth defect, compared to 8.9 percent whose mothers' asthma was well-controlled. The findings were published in the June 2008 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAI) notes that the research underscores the need to effectively manage asthma throughout pregnancy, but especially during the crucial infant development months of the first trimester. If an expectant mom has difficulty breathing, both she and her fetus can experience a drop in the amount of oxygen in their blood. A fetus needs a consistent supply for normal growth and survival.

If you're pregnant and an asthma sufferer, consult with your physician or an allergist/immunologist to make sure your asthma is controlled. Avoid common asthma triggers, including dust mites, animal dander and smoke, the AAAI says.

Learn more about asthma and pregnancy by visiting the AAAI Web site at

©, used with permission.

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