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Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Sep;108(3 Pt 1):667-81.

Asthma and pregnancy.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St. John Hospital and Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48236, USA.

Erratum in

  • Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Dec;108(6):1556.


Asthma complicates 4-8% of pregnancies. Mild and well-controlled moderate asthma can be associated with excellent maternal and perinatal pregnancy outcomes. Severe and poorly controlled asthma may be associated with increased prematurity, need for cesarean delivery, preeclampsia, growth restriction, other perinatal complications, as well as maternal morbidity and mortality. Optimal management of asthma during pregnancy includes objective monitoring of lung function, avoiding or controlling asthma triggers, patient education, and individualized pharmacologic therapy. Those with persistent asthma should be monitored by peak expiratory flow rate, spirometry to measure the forced expiratory volume in 1 second, or both. Step-care therapeutic approach uses the least amount of drug intervention necessary to control a patient's severity of asthma. Inhaled corticosteroids are the preferred treatment for the management of all levels of persistent asthma during pregnancy. It is safer for pregnant women with asthma to be treated with asthma medications than it is for them to have asthma symptoms and exacerbations. The ultimate goal of asthma therapy is maintaining adequate oxygenation of the fetus by prevention of hypoxic episodes in the mother. Asthma exacerbations should be aggressively managed, with a goal of alleviating asthma symptoms and attaining peak expiratory flow rate or forced expiratory volume in 1 second of 70% predicted or more. Pregnancies complicated by moderate or severe asthma may benefit from ultrasound for fetal growth and accurate dating and antenatal assessment of fetal well-being. Asthma medications should be continued during labor, and parturients should be encouraged to breastfeed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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