Asthma therapy particularly important in pregnancy

Asthma therapy particularly important in pregnancy

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It is advisable to continue asthma therapy during pregnancy

If left untreated, asthma can quickly become a serious health risk. In pregnancy, neglected therapy also jeopardizes the health of the unborn child, which is why consistent continuation of asthma therapy is also essential during pregnancy, according to the German Lung Foundation, citing the latest study results.

Pregnant women are often afraid that taking the asthma medication could harm their child and they will therefore reduce their intake or even stop taking the medication altogether. This not only endangers their own health, but also that of the child. "Pregnant asthmatics who do not have their asthma under optimal control are more likely to suffer complications and risk giving birth to their child too early, with underweight or deformities," warns the German Lung Foundation.

Avoiding asthma medication the wrong way

Although it is understandable that expectant mothers largely want to do without medication during pregnancy, this does not make sense in the case of a chronic illness such as bronchial asthma, emphasizes Professor Adrian Gillissen, Deputy Chairman of the German Lung Foundation and Director of the Department of Internal Medicine and Pneumology at the Ermstalklinik Bad Urach.

What health threats?

For example, asthmatics who experience worsening (so-called exacerbations) with asthma attacks during pregnancy have a higher risk of pregnancy complications such as pregnancy poisoning (preclampsia) and high blood pressure due to pregnancy. In addition, the child's health is directly endangered by the increased risk of premature birth, underweight or birth defects.

Long-term consequences for the child

And there are also long-term health consequences for young people. In the first five years of life, the children themselves often develop asthma or pneumonia if the asthmatic symptoms during pregnancy were not under optimal control. This is the result of a study published in the specialist magazine "European Respiratory Journal" with more than 58,000 asthmatics, according to the Lung Foundation.

Many pregnant women stop taking the medication

More than 2,600 participants in the study experienced worsening asthma symptoms during pregnancy, which necessitated treatment in the emergency room or clinic or at least five visits to the doctor. According to the study authors, around 40 percent of asthmatics who become pregnant reduce or stop taking asthma medications because they fear they could harm the child.

Pregnancy hormones additionally increase the risk

However, this increases the risk of an acute asthma attack dramatically, not least because pregnant asthma sufferers have the additional problem that the hormonal changes during pregnancy make them more at risk of asthma than usual.

Modern asthma medication is no risk

"The pregnancy hormone progesterone increases the inflammatory reactions of the body and thus the tendency to asthma attacks, so that the risk of such attacks increases during pregnancy," explains Professor Gillissen. It is therefore advisable to continue drug therapy during pregnancy. In addition, modern asthma medication is safe when taken as directed and does not harm the adolescent child. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • German Lung Foundation: Good asthma therapy especially important during pregnancy (published on January 8th, 2020),
  • Kawsari Abdullah, Jingqin Zhu, Andrea Gershon, Sharon Dell, Teresa To: Effect of asthma exacerbation during pregnancy in women with asthma: A population-based cohort study; in: European Respiratory Journal, Voume 55, Issue 1, November 2019,

Video: Allergies, Asthma and Pregnancy (August 2022).