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Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2012 Aug;43(1-2):45-56. doi: 10.1007/s12016-011-8277-8.

Asthma and pregnancy.

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Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology; Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Davis, CA, USA.


Asthma is probably the most common serious medical disorder that may complicate pregnancy. A third of pregnant women with asthma will experience worsening of their symptoms, a third will see improvement of their symptoms and a third will see no change. The primary goal is to maintain optimal control of asthma for maternal health and well-being as well as fetal maturation. Vital patient education should cover the use of controller medication, avoidance of asthma triggers and early treatment of asthma exacerbations. Proper asthma management should ideally be started in the preconception period. Since smoking is probably the most modifiable risk factor of asthma, pregnant woman should avoid active and passive smoking. Acute asthma exacerbation during the first trimester is associated with an increased risk of congenital malformations. Poorly controlled asthma is associated with low birth weight, preeclampsia, and preterm birth. Medications used for asthma control in the non-pregnant population are generally the same in pregnancy with a few exceptions. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are the preferred controller therapy. Budesonide is the preferred ICS. Long-acting B-agonists (LABA) are the preferred add-on therapy to medium to high dose ICS. Major triggers for asthma exacerbations during pregnancy are viral infections and ICS nonadherence.

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