Treatment for asthma in pregnancy and fetal malformations

Treatment for asthma in pregnancy and fetal malformations

Asthma is one of the most common conditions that worries any future mom during pregnancy. Recent research has found that during pregnancy, drugs that control asthma symptoms can cause fetal malformations, but the risks are minor. On the other hand, doctors believe that stopping treatment for asthma can have far more serious consequences for the health of the mother and her baby.


Many women fear that changes during pregnancy will unfortunately interact with the manifestation of asthma and the medications they need to take to control the condition. Scientists have identified 3 possible congenital malformations that can be caused by asthma or specific treatment, but the chances of them developing are very small.

Asthma and malformations of the fetus

A study on the impact of asthma that pregnant women have on infants has found a connection between birth defects and respiratory system disease, namely the medicines taken by the mother one month before pregnancy and during the first trimester of pregnancy.

The authors of the research failed to clearly distinguish whether asthma itself caused malformations or drug treatment followed by mothers.

The 3 rare genetic diseases associated with asthma are:

  • incomplete development of the esophagus;
  • anal artery (absence or perforation of the anal orifice);
  • omfalocel (the abdominal organs exit outward through the umbilical ring).

The administration of bronchodilatory and anti-inflammatory drugs (such as steroids) around conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy could be correlated with a prevalence compared with the installation of rare genetic diseases.

Asthma treatment in pregnancy

Although there has been a minor risk of congenital malformations associated with asthma and the appropriate medication, the treatment of asthma in pregnancy remains particularly necessary. Neglect of the disease can expose the pregnant woman to more problems than the poor predisposition to the congenital anomalies of the baby.

Specialists believe that the risk of genetic defects is too small to exclude following treatment for asthma during pregnancy. Ideally, any woman should talk to her doctor before conception to make sure the disease is under control.

In the case of an unplanned pregnancy, treatment should not be excluded from pregnancy care.

Complications of asthma in pregnancy

The severity of asthma during pregnancy varies from case to case. The disease may worsen in 33% of cases, it may improve in another 33% or it may remain the same in the same proportion.

Factors that increase or reduce the risk of complications are unclear, but attacks occur more frequently during weeks 17-24 of pregnancy. This is because some pregnant women stop taking medicines during pregnancy, and are at greater risk of having asthma attacks.

Asthma control during pregnancy

Good control of the disease before and during pregnancy reduces the risk of worsening symptoms. Some of the drugs prescribed for this condition are safe during pregnancy, while others are forbidden. The doctor is the only one able to recommend a replacement treatment.

Surveillance of pregnancy by a specialist in respiratory diseases is mandatory. It will check the normal functioning of the lungs and may prevent a bad evolution of the symptoms.

Testing the degree of stress the baby is subjected to, by monitoring the heart rate, is recommended after the 32nd week of pregnancy, especially if the pregnant woman has seizures.

Some simple steps can help you control the environmental factors that trigger asthma attacks and aggravate the condition:

  • Avoid exposure to specific allergens that you know trigger your symptoms: fluff, fur, feathers, dust, various irritants (smoke, strong perfume, polluting agents);
  • wrap the mattress and pillows with special covers that reduce exposure to mites and avoid sleeping on upholstered furniture (sofas, armchairs, etc.);
  • immunize with the flu vaccine to avoid any seasonal disease in the respiratory system.