Say No to Allergens
Before you conceive or if you are in the early stages of pregnancy, talk with your physician about asthma triggers. These may include pollen, mold, animal dander, house dust mites, cockroaches or tobacco smoke. Be aware of what causes your asthma attacks and avoid those allergens whenever possible. Exposure can cause tightness in your chest, wheezing or coughing, and symptoms may worsen during pregnancy (especially if your asthma is considered severe).
While many expectant mothers may feel unsure about taking medication during pregnancy, certain asthma medications have been determined safe for mother and baby. Studies have shown inhaled corticosteroids to be effective and low-risk for pregnant women. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program recommends inhaled corticosteroids and short-acting beta 2-agonists for use during pregnancy. Oral corticosteroids are not recommended for asthma treatment during pregnancy, but they can be used to treat severe asthma attacks.
Several tests are available to monitor the health of your baby and the effect your asthma may be having on the growing fetus. Sonography or ultrasounds are often used during the first trimester. Electronic heart monitoring may also be used during your last trimester to evaluate your little one’s well-being. Additionally, your physician may ask you to record your baby’s activity and daily kick counts to help keep track of his or her health and development.
Deep Breaths for Mom and Baby
As an expectant mother, you want what is best for you and your baby. If you’re living with asthma, that means paying attention to things like the air you breathe indoors.
Follow these strategies suggested by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to reduce allergens in your home.
- Control dust mites by keeping surfaces in the home clean and uncluttered.
- Prevent animal dander by keeping pets (especially those with feathers and fur) outside or, at least, out of the bedroom.
- Prevent pollen indoors by keeping windows and doors closed.
- Vacuum once or twice a week.