Catching Your Breath: Managing Asthma during Pregnancy
Preventing Asthma Attacks
Asthmatic episodes can be triggered by allergens, irritants (such as cigarette smoke), exercise, infections (like a cold or flu), cold air, and other factors. It’s important to avoid known triggers and to identify mild asthma symptoms before they become severe.
Common asthma symptoms include:
- shortness of breath
- tightening of the chest
Other warning signs of an asthma attack include:
- a runny or stuffy nose
- coughing or wheezing (brought about by laughing or by various activities)
- waking up at night or early morning with a cough or wheeze
- faster breathing rate
- throat itches
Because shortness of breath often occurs in all pregnancies and not just for those who have asthma, the regular use of a peak expiratory flow meter is often recommended. This meter tells how well a person’s lungs are working by gauging how fast she can exhale after a deep inhale. Peak flow numbers often drop hours, or even a day or two, before the onset of an attack, which makes the meter an indispensable tool for expectant moms.
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