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Bronchial Asthma Ncp

Asthma in pregnancy


This article will provide an overview of asthma in pregnancy. The effects of asthma on pregnancy and recommendations for the use of treatment during pregnancy will be considered. Additionally, the effects of pregnancy on asthma, non-pharmacological management and management of the acute exacerbation will be discussed.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways which is characterised by cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness and intermittent episodes of wheeze.1

The disease can affect the trachea, the bronchi and the bronchioles which form part of the lower respiratory tract.2 Asthma causes inflammation and structural changes in the airways in response to certain stimuli and triggers. These can include hormonal triggers such as premenstrual conditions and pregnancy.1 

The prevalence of asthma in pregnant women is 4-12% which makes it the most common chronic condition in pregnancy.1 The 2012 British Thoracic Society and Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (BTS/SIGN)3 provides guidance on the management of asthma that includes management of the condition in pregnancy and during labour. Several physiological changes occur during pregnancy that could worsen or improve asthma but the majority of women with the condition have normal pregnancies and the risk of complications is small in those whose asthma is well controlled.3