Asthma is a lung disease caused by the constriction of the pulmonary bronchioles (the branches of the trachea). Asthma is usually treated with oral or inhaled corticosteriods or steroids.
Many asthmatics find changes in their conditions during pregnancy. Dr. Davis believes these changes are related to the severity of a woman's condition prior to conception. "The steroid-dependent asthmatic who has been intubated may have a greater problem with a pregnancy," she says. "However, those women who have not had such serious episodes are just as likely to experience a healthy pregnancy."
"It is likely that the overwhelming majority of women with asthma will have no change or improvement in their condition," says Dr. Swaamy. Asthmatics who want to plan for a healthy pregnancy should consult with their primary care physician and/or pulmonologist.
The usual treatment for asthmatics may involve steroids such as prednisone. Dr. Swaamy and Dr. Davis agree that prednisone does not harm a developing baby since there is no evidence that it crosses over the placenta. However, it is important that asthmatic women consult with their physicians before they start taking new medications or discontinue any prescribed asthma medications before conception.