Asthma is a chronic disorder of the respiratory system where periodic inflammation occurs in the air passage and normal airflow into the body gets affected. It is triggered due to irritation of the lining of the air passage caused by allergens, irritants, infections, cold weather conditions, hormonal changes and so on. An asthma attack is identified with symptoms like breathing difficulty, wheezing, chest tightness, cough, etc. Asthma attacks during pregnancy is fairly common. Those women who have a medical history of asthma tend to get the attacks more frequently during pregnancy. On the other hand, some women develop asthma during pregnancy.
How to Treat Asthma During Pregnancy?
Many women try to avoid asthma treatment during pregnancy as they feel that medicines can cause harm to their unborn baby. It is true that taking asthma medicines may not be good for the baby but an uncontrolled asthma attack during pregnancy is even worse. It decreases the amount of oxygen supply to the mother and the fetus. This can lead to serious complications like high blood pressure in the pregnant mother, pre-eclampsia, low birth weight of the infant, premature baby birth, etc.
For treatment during pregnancy, you have to involve both your pulmonologist and the obstetrician. Do not stop taking medicines on your own when you come to know about your pregnancy. Rather, you must inform your obstetrician about the medicines that you are taking. When you inform your pulmonologist that you are pregnant, then he or she may change the dosage of the medicine or give you new medicines.
The most popular medicine used for treating asthma during pregnancy is steroid inhalers. It opens up the air passage and alleviates symptoms. It may be accompanied by oral steroid medicines or injections. The dosage of these medicines depends on the frequency of the asthma attack and severity of the symptoms. Do not worry as your doctor will select suitable medicines for you that have minimum side effects on you and your baby.
If asthma is triggered due to exposure to allergens, then doctors prescribe antihistamines for controlling the allergy symptoms. A nasal congestion due to upper respiratory tract infection is often treated with oral decongestants. Those who are prone to flu attack may be advised to take flu shots to prevent aggravation of the problem. Regular intake of medicines is not enough, you also have to visit your pulmonologist to monitor the lung function from time to time. Your obstetrician will also recommend frequent ultrasounds to check fetal growth.
Treating an Asthma Attack at Home
Along with the medicinal treatment, you have to take a few remedial measures at home to control asthma symptoms. A few helpful tips in this regard are as follows:
- Strictly avoid tobacco smoke exposure. Those pregnant women who are smokers should quit the habit immediately. Smoking can lead to a severe asthma attack.
- Make sure that your home and office environment where you spend maximum time is free from environmental irritants like dirt, dust, pollen, mold, etc.
- Do not go outdoors in cold weather conditions. If you have to go, make sure you cover up your mouth and nose properly with a scarf.
- Mix some rock salt with mustard oil to prepare a thick paste. Massage this paste gently on your chest daily. This reduces the chances of an asthma attack to a great extent.
- Garlic can provide relief from asthma. Boil 8-10 garlic cloves in a glass of milk for 10 minutes. Let it cool down and then drink it. It should be taken daily for best results.
The main aim of this treatment is to keep the mother and the baby healthy. If you are one of those women who have pre-existing asthma problems, there is no need to assume that you are going to have a tough time during pregnancy. You can manage asthma with proper medical care, regular monitoring of the condition and some suitable precautionary measures. Take care!