Asthma attacks in pregnancy linked to increased risk of birth defects

Asthma is a common problem of the lung that affects people of all ages. Asthma causes occasional breathing problems and sometimes can be fatal, if not quickly attended to.

Symptoms of asthma include a whistling sound during breathing called wheezing, difficulty in breathing, tightening of the chest and coughing.

Sometimes, these symptoms get worse temporarily and this is referred to as an asthma attack.

For a pregnant woman, worsening asthma attacks have been found to be associated with adverse outcomes in both mother and child.

Findings from a study published in the European Respiratory Journal has found evidence to support the adverse effects of acute exacerbation (AE) of asthma during pregnancy on both mother and child.

AE, according to the study, was defined as “≥5 physician visits, or 1 emergency department visit, or 1 hospital admission for asthma during pregnancy.”

Associated complications found by the researchers included preeclampsia (a complication of pregnancy that is characterized by high blood pressure and signs of organ damage, usually to the liver and kidney) and pregnancy-induced hypertension; babies had higher risks of having low birth weight, being born pre-term and with higher risks being born with birth defects.

The researchers also found that children born to women with AE during pregnancy had a heightened risk of asthma and pneumonia during the first 5 years of life.

You can learn more about asthma and pregnancy from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.