Many women stop taking asthma medication during pregnancy

Almost a third of women on asthma control medications stop using them during the first few months of pregnancy, according to new research.
According to the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) women should continue taking asthma medications throughout pregnancy, because the risks of exacerbated asthma are greater than the risks of the medication. If a mother has uncontrolled asthma there is a risk of the baby not getting enough oxygen during development, which can cause serious complications.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, used information on more than 2,000 pregnancies from a prescription database in The Netherlands from 1994 to 2009.

Between 1994 and 2003, the women's rate of asthma control medication prescriptions held steady before, during and after pregnancy. However, from 2004 to 2009, the researchers saw a drop of 30% in the rate of asthma prescriptions collected in the first three months of pregnancy, compared to a woman's pattern in the months before becoming pregnant.

Lead author, Dr Zetstra-van der Woude, said: "The course of asthma often changes during pregnancy and some women may experience a relief of asthma symptoms, and as a consequence can do with less or with no medication at all. This is no problem as long as the asthma is under control. Doctors as well as women themselves should be informed about the importance of adequate asthma control during pregnancy and about the risks of poorly controlled asthma for the unborn child.”

Read the original article

Read the original research paper

Read the ELF factsheet on asthma and pregnancy

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