New Study Reveals How Managing Pregnancy Treatment Can Help Reduce Chances Of Childhood Asthma
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New research has shown that managing pregnancy treatment can help reduce the chances of childhood asthma. Find out all about it and what you can do now.
If you have asthma and you are pregnant, the chances are that you may be a tad concerned about whether your little one will end up suffering with this uncomfortable condition, too.
Unfortunately, asthma can be genetic, meaning that if both parents suffer from the condition, the child is more likely to develop it.
But, luckily, researchers have found that there are things that you can do during pregnancy to reduce the risk of your child developing asthma.
Importantly, this isn’t about changing your lifestyle or taking any dramatic steps – but, instead, about simply effectively managing your own symptoms throughout your pregnancy.
The risks of poorly-managed asthma during pregnancy
It has long been proven that poorly managed asthma symptoms during pregnancy can cause a number of health problems for both mother and child.
As far as the mother is concerned, the new surge of hormones created in the system during pregnancy can either alleviate or aggravate asthma (although a third of women experience no change whatsoever).
For those who experience heightened symptoms, a structured and well-managed treatment plan is essential to avoid any further exacerbation, or impact on the baby.
In a pregnant woman, severe asthma untreated during pregnancy can cause:
- Severe morning sickness
- Problems with the placenta
- Vaginal bleeding
- High blood pressure
However, there are also threats to the baby. This is because the foetus relies on a constant and rich supply of oxygen through blood via the placenta.
So, if your asthma symptoms are not under control, the blood they receive from you may not contain a high enough oxygen saturation.
Although uncommon, the results of this could include low birth weight, premature delivery or a heightened likelihood of developing asthma in childhood.
The benefits of managing pregnancy treatment of asthma
Besides the obvious need to avoid exacerbating your own asthma symptoms, there are many benefits to managing your condition for your child. As a new study by the University of Newcastle, Australia, has found, proper management of asthma in expectant mothers can halve the chance of the child developing the condition.
According to ABC, the study, which tested the impact of an asthma management plan on pregnant women with the illness, found that by simply following a normal asthma management strategy, expectant mothers could also reduce their chance of experiencing an asthma attack by half.
The long-term project medicated bothers based on their symptoms such as wheezing or coughing, and measuring lung inflammation using a breath test to determine how much medication the woman should be using each month.
As researcher, Dr Vanessa Murphy said,
“What we found was this approach significantly reduced the rate of asthma attacks in pregnancy by half.”
The study also followed up with the children’s health when they were between four and six years old to see how many developed asthma. The result was almost a 50 per cent reduction in doctor-diagnosed asthma in preschool aged children of women who successfully managed their asthma.
Even those children who did develop asthma were presented less frequently to emergency departments through asthma attacks, and required less medication to manage their own symptoms.
According to The Cessnock Advertiser, Murphy and co-researcher Professor Joerg Mattes said:
“The study’s findings are significant because asthma is the most common chronic disease affecting more than 10 percent of pregnant women. Implementation of this approach in clinical practice has the potential to reduce asthma rates among a group of children at high risk of developing the disease.”
How to manage your asthma while pregnant
So what can pregnant women with asthma do to effectively manage their conditions?
Take your medicines as prescribed by a doctor
First and foremost, it is essential to continue taking your prescribed asthma treatments throughout your pregnancy, whether these be preventer inhalers or reliever inhalers.
Take your medicines as directed and don’t stop without discussing it with your doctor or asthma nurse first. If you stop taking your medicines, your symptoms may worsen, leading to the risk of your baby having a low birthweight.
Create a plan to keep on top of your treatment
Pregnancy can be a busy and challenging time. Whilst you are dealing with sickness, hormones, physical changes and going through the steps of preparing for the baby’s arrival, it could be easy to forget to take your medicine on time.
It is well worth pregnant women with asthma creating a solid plan to manage their condition – whether this means creating a written plan, setting alarms on your phone of when to take your inhaler, or simply setting out your medicine in a place where you will always see it and remember to take it. Ask others to remind you if you have trouble remembering.
Discuss your condition and pregnancy with healthcare professionals
It is important to discuss your condition and pregnancy with your GP, asthma nurse and midwife, who will help you develop a holistic healthcare plan to manage your asthma throughout your pregnancy without affecting the baby.
One proven way to improve your medicine adherence is by using Safey’s Smart Bluetooth enabled inhaler technology. Discuss using Safey’s asthma management plan with your GP today.
Treat colds and coughs immediately
If you find yourself coming down with a cold, or getting a cough, during pregnancy, it is essential to use your preventer inhaler. If you do not yet have one described, it is well worth consulting a healthcare professional to find out about whether this would be appropriate for you.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
The biggest cause of pregnancy-induced asthma cases in children is smoking mothers. If you smoke, you must discuss quitting with a doctor, or your child will be at risk of developing asthma, along with a whole host of other health conditions.
It is also important to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, but carefully. This is particularly pertinent if you experience exercise-induced asthma, or have experienced an asthma attack during or following physical activity in the past. Speak to your doctor about safe ways you can remain active with asthma during your pregnancy.
Allergies are one of the biggest contributors to asthma, so it is vital to reduce your likelihood of having an allergic reaction – whether asthmatic or otherwise – during your pregnancy. Avoid contact with anything that triggers allergic reactions for you – whether it is food or animal hair. This includes avoiding hay fever triggers such as mowing the lawn.
If you do experience hay fever, talk to your doctor about controlling your symptoms with antihistamines – many are safe to take in pregnancy, but check first.
Be aware of warning signs
Whilst preventative measures are always the best treatment with asthma, it is essential to monitor any changes in your condition and act accordingly. If you find your symptoms are worsening, for example if you have trouble breathing or if you are using your reliever inhaler more than three times per week – it is essential to make an appointment with your doctor or asthma nurse. This also applies if you notice your baby isn’t moving around or kicking as normal.
Speaking to a healthcare practitioner, you will be able to review your medicines and treatment plan. As Asthma.org notes, a short course of steroid tablets may be prescribed in this case – but these are safe to use during pregnancy.
To find out more about managing your asthma during pregnancy, or to find resources on how to do so, visit us at Safey today.