Asthma is a complex and inflammatory disorder of the lungs. An attack of asthma especially during inopportune times can really overwhelm the patient. Asthma can leave you coughing, wheezing and having acute difficulties while breathing. Pregnancy can be an unexpected trigger for asthma attacks especially if you have had a medical history of it.
The changes in hormones, stress levels and fluctuations in the woman’s emotional levels can also bring on an attack of asthma. In very severe cases, it can prove to be fatal for the foetus especially if the foetus is not getting enough oxygen from the woman’s blood.
Risks Associated With Asthma During Pregnancy
If you have previously been on asthma medication before your pregnancy, it is a bad idea to discontinue doing so. You may have to continue with your medication because the long-term risk posed with asthma medication is minimal compared to the potential harm it can cause to the foetus.
It has been estimated that violent attacks of asthma during pregnancy can lead to preterm babies, and babies who have low birth weight. You are also likely to get an attack of hypertension and preeclampsia with uncontrolled asthma. This can further complicate the pregnancy.If you have kept the asthma in strict control before your pregnancy, the chances of you faring well during your pregnancy are very high.
Signs To Watch Out For
There are certain signs that you need to be alert to in case you suffer from an asthma attack. These include wheezing, tightness in the chest, breathlessness and a hacking cough that refuses to abate. Watch out for heartburn and acid reflux as the stomach acids being pushed back into the food pipe can lead to a massive attack of asthma.
Managing Your Asthma And Things You Can Do To Keep It Under Control
There are certain strategies and measures for keeping the asthma under control during your pregnancy.
Keep Your Doctor Well Informed
Your doctor can prove to be a lifesaver in more ways than one. He/she needs to know your detailed medical history like the severity and periodicity of the asthma attacks, the current medication that you are on and your sensitivity to certain allergens and triggers of asthma. With this knowledge, an action plan can be put into place.
Smoking is one of the most lethal and violent triggers of asthma. Not only can it harm your foetus but can also bring on a severe attack of asthma. In order to avoid it, make sure you completely stop smoking. You should get rid of the habit even before you plan to become pregnant. Passive smoking can be equally bad so stay away from cigarette smoke and ensure that people around you refrain from smoking.
Stay Away from Pets
Pet dander is known to be a suspected asthma trigger. If you are pregnant, you may have to send your pet away for a while to be looked after by someone else. If you cannot do so, ensure that someone else takes on the complete responsibility of looking after your pet for you while you take care of your pregnancy.
Take Your Antihistamines and Use the Inhaler Judiciously
Certain antihistamines are said to prevent attacks of hay fever. This happens especially if you are exposed to grass while mowing the lawn. These antihistamines can reduce the possibility or severity of the attack. If you are using the inhaler, speak to the doctor about the asthma medication in the inhaler and whether it is safe to use during pregnancy. Once he/she gives you the green signal, you can continue using the inhaler at all times.
Dealing With a Severe Asthma Attack
A severe attack needs to be avoided at all costs so you should be extra vigilant about its warning signs. Your symptoms may turn out to be quite different from what you have experienced before so make sure you are careful. As soon as you experience tightness in the chest or difficulties in breathing, report to the emergency department of your nearest hospital.
You will be immediately given rescue medication and oxygen to ward off the attack and bring your symptoms under control. You should also stay close to medical facilities at all times. Do not plan on travel to far off places if you have a history of asthma.
Stay Away From Sick People
You cannot take the chance of getting sick or contracting flu while you are pregnant and asthmatic. Your best bet is to stay away from sick people and avoid them like the plague. If people in your house fall sick, keep minimal contact with them.
Remove All Household Allergens
Make sure someone regularly cleans, disinfects and dusts your home, as dust is a potential trigger for asthma. Do not expose yourself to dark, damp and dingy rooms as the mustiness can trigger an attack of asthma. If it is spring season, close all doors and windows and avoid going outside to reduce your exposure to pollen.
If your doctor permits it, do whatever you can to stay healthy. A half hour of exercise can actually prove to be beneficial. Do so only if it does not tire you or aggravate your symptoms. You should also take warm and healthy soups and teas to keep your immunity levels high. Avoid food triggers and very spicy food, as these are neither good for the asthma nor for the pregnancy.
Do Not Eat Large Meals
Do not eat very large meals especially if you suffer from acid reflux or heartburn as this can aggravate your asthma. Stay active and keep your head and torso elevated to prevent the acids from rising up and causing problems. These techniques and strategies will help you to stay aware, alert and keep you abreast with the symptoms of asthma during your pregnancy.
It is imperative to keep the asthma strictly under control knowing the harm it can do to you and the baby. Speak to your doctor for support and timely help.