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Reprod Toxicol. 2011 Sep;32(2):189-97. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2011.05.023. Epub 2011 Jun 13.

Asthma, asthma medications and their effects on maternal/fetal outcomes during pregnancy.

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Immuno-inflammation Therapeutic Strategic Unit, Sanofi-aventis, 200 Crossing Blvd., P.O. Box 6890, Bridgewater, NJ 08807-0890, USA.


Maternal asthma may increase the risk of adverse fetal and maternal outcomes such as low birth weight, perinatal mortality, preterm birth, preeclampsia, hypertensive disorders, maternal mortality, uterine hemorrhage, and gestational diabetes. Controlling asthma during pregnancy with appropriate medications leads to improved intrauterine growth of the fetus and fewer adverse perinatal outcomes. Prospective population or birth cohort studies have shown that the medications used to treat asthma, such as bronchodilators (short-acting β2-agonists) and controller medications (inhaled corticosteroids, cromones, theophylline, leukotriene inhibitors), have no or minimal effects on fetal growth, and perinatal complications are reduced when maternal asthma is adequately controlled. However, taking oral corticosteroids during pregnancy may confer increased risk of lower birth weight and congenital malformations. Therefore, managing pregnant asthmatics requires a careful benefit-risk analysis, and when indicated, the benefits of a medication that may have increased risks can dictate its use in severe uncontrolled asthma.

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