Pregnant asthmatic women warned of health risks

(Medical Xpress) -- Many pregnant women who suffer from asthma are putting their unborn child's health at risk by failing to use the right medication, according to a University of Adelaide researcher.

Postdoctoral researcher Dr. Annette Osei-Kumah says if asthma is not correctly managed during pregnancy it can result in premature births, low birth weights and even .

Dr. Osei-Kumah, the University of Adelaide's inaugural Florey Fellow, says asthma is often worse during pregnancy due to different factors released from the which cause inflammation in the mothers' lung.

Previous studies reveal that during pregnancy, one third of women report their asthma is worse, one third maintain their asthma remains the same and another third report an improvement.

However, most women underestimate the effect of asthma during their pregnancy, Dr. Osei-Kumah says.

"Most women who said their asthma didn't change actually recorded poorer when tested and 55% experienced at least one asthma attack during pregnancy," she says.

There are sex-specific effects as well. invariably leads to low birth weights in female babies. Male babies, on the other hand, continue to grow normally but if a mother has an during pregnancy they are less likely to survive.

Dr. Osei-Kumah says most women who are asthmatic stop using their medications during pregnancy due to fear of side effects, but their concerns are unfounded.

"What we have found is the lack of medication use is leading to problems, aggravating the asthma and putting the fetus as risk, as well as the mother's health.

"It's important that women use their throughout pregnancy and get regular checkups with their GP to ensure their asthma is under control."

Dr. Osei-Kumah has been awarded the inaugural Florey Early Career Northern Health Research Fellow in honour of the University's most famous graduate Lord Howard Florey.

The Florey Fellowship will fund a two-year research project at the Lyell McEwin Hospital, helping pregnant women in the northern suburbs of Adelaide manage their asthma and reduce the health risks for their .

About 12% of the Australian population suffers from asthma, although this figure is higher in South Australia and also in low socio-economic areas due to a range of factors, including diet and lifestyle.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Asthma warning for pregnant women in Australia

Jul 12, 2010

Asthma is the most common complication of pregnancy in Australia with harmful effects on babies, but many of these could be prevented a University of Adelaide researcher says.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments