Need for better asthma management in pregnancy

A better maternity care model could help reduce the risk that poorly managed asthma has on pregnant women and their unborn children, new research finds.

Published in respiratory journal, CHEST, 60 women less than 20 weeks pregnant were split evenly into two groups: one received counselling by their pharmacist (education about asthma/use of preventative medications, regular monitoring, feedback, follow-up) in conjunction with seeing their regular doctor, while the other followed their normal asthma routine.

The study found that women in the intervention group were in significantly better control of their asthma after six months than the other group.

Despite the proven safety of using asthma-preventing medications during pregnancy, some women believe steroid inhalers are harmful, choosing to stop taking their medication without notifying their doctor.

On the contrary, women risk their own and their unborn child’s safety by not using asthma preventers. Poorly controlled asthma in pregnancy can limit the oxygen provided to a growing fetus and has been associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and pre-eclampsia.

The study focussed on educating women about the safety of inhaler medications during pregnancy, optimising their delivery technique and stressing the importance of continuing medications recommended by the doctor.

Researchers believe improved education and monitoring programs in Australian hospitals could help pregnant women better manage their asthma.

Read more at Monash University