Lung disease and high risk pregnancy are a thread to any pregnancy. Oxygen transport through the mother’s lungs into the bloodstream and into fetal blood circulation via the placenta is absolutely essential for normal development of the fetus.
Fortunately, most lung diseases become limiting only long after the reproductive phase of a woman. However, asthma is the exception where severe asthma can occur in the reproductive age. Nevertheless, only about 1% of all pregnant women have asthma.
Severe forms of asthma with status asthmaticus occur in 10% of these women. This means that about 1 in 1000 pregnancies have serious lung disease (Ref.19, p.2050). Asthma tends to get worse during the course of a pregnancy.
However, the physician can help by reviewing the asthma on a regular basis and identifying the more severe forms of asthma. These can be sent to an appropriate specialist like a respirologist (= pulmonary specialist) or an allergist, if environmental allergies are a main contributor to the asthma. Often the corticosteroid inhalation schedule can be optimized and allergy shots, if this is applicable, can be given more frequently in order to better control anti-IgE antibodies. Smoking and preganancy do not mix. Low birth weight, premature labor and fetal death are often the consequence.
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