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Can anyone reassure me about asthma and pregnancy please?

(13 Posts)
fluffypenguinbelly Mon 14-Dec-15 14:20:31

I have had bad lungs for years. Finally diagnosed with asthma last year. It wasn't a problem during my first pregnancy as I was pregnant over the summer but this time round I am really struggling.

I am getting increasingly stressed and worried about taking the inhalers so regularly and I had to have steroids last week. I have a feeling they will give me more this evening in my appointment.

Has anyone else suffered badly with asthma? I'm so worried about the baby.

Daffodil90 Mon 14-Dec-15 14:41:37


Firstly don't panic. I have asthma (had it for the last 16 years) that is controlled with steroids. I take a preventer everyday and a reliever for as and when I need it.

The important thing is that your baby is getting enough oxygen and the only real problem comes if you're not getting enough oxygen. Basically if you are managing your asthma then everything will be fine. Take the meds you are recommended by Doctor (they will have dealt with loooooads of pregnancies and asthma) and just keep yourself active without overdoing it leading to needing more relief. But don't feel bad if you need that relief. I've taken mine quite a few times, particularly near the end before she's dropped as it gets a bit squished up there! I'm 40+5 today and baby is happy healthy and heartrates have been perfect throughout.

Good luck with everything and enjoy the pregnancy smile

Everythinggettingbigger Mon 14-Dec-15 15:09:38


I was really struggling with my Asthma this time round (currently 16+6) from very early on, I had had enough by 8 weeks as my usual (blue) reliever wasn't really doing the trick or I was having to use it at least 6-8 times even just while I was sitting at my desk in work. I was given a new one which is both a preventer and reliever, its called Symbicort Turbohaler and has a red lid, its the best thing I have ever done for my asthma. I started off using it once it the morning and once in the night (with the odd time in between when I needed to) to just once in the night, usually didn't need it throughout the day, and now I have to use it maybe once every couple of days.

Hope that helps

Runningupthathill82 Mon 14-Dec-15 15:17:05

Don't worry one bit, and just take the meds you need.

I've struggled with my asthma in both pregnancies and, last time round, ended up not only on the max dose of Seretide, but Montelucast tablets as well. The result was one very happy and healthy son who has no breathing problems or other health issues at all.

This time I'm coping on the steroid inhaler and reliever alone (no additional tablets), but I'm using the ventolin a lot. There is no evidence that steroid inhalers affect an unborn child, so if you need them, take them!

fluffypenguinbelly Mon 14-Dec-15 15:34:17

Thanks everyone. I'm pathetic at medication and think I have fought the asthma diagnosis so much in the past that I'm not appreciating the seriousness of it. I didn't even go to the doctor for me last week but my DD. Doctor spotted my breathing and said he thought I was a day or two from an attack without steroids.

I'm sure it's just coincidence but the whole time I was on steroids last week baby barely moved. She sank very low down and had tiny movements I almost took myself to get checked out. The day after they ran out she popped back up and has been merrily wriggling about again.

I know deep down that I need the medication and it's all fine but I feel like I am doing the baby a disservice somehow by needing it!

Runningupthathill82 Mon 14-Dec-15 15:48:31

Asthma is a very manageable condition for most people, but it is absolutely essential to take the meds you need. Trying to carry on without will do you no good at all.

And I know anecdotes and data are not the same thing, but I've had two pregnancies on max doses of steroids, and two very active babies.

Not sure why you'd fight the asthma diagnosis. It's very common and not a big deal at all, as long as you ensure you have the medication you need.

Sidge Mon 14-Dec-15 15:57:33

Everything - you should still be taking your Symbicort daily as a preventer even if you're not needing it as a reliever. You need the daily dose of steroid to keep the inflammation at bay and prevent your symptoms flaring again.

fluffy - it's much safer for you and your baby to have well controlled asthma requiring daily inhaled corticosteroids than uncontrolled asthma that may require hospital admission. About a third of women will find their asthma worsens in pregnancy. Make sure when you see the GP or nurse again this evening they check your inhalers. You should have a preventer as well as a reliever and using a spacer will make it even more efficient.

fluffypenguinbelly Mon 14-Dec-15 16:46:28

I didn't mean I argued the diagnosis, more I didn't really believe it was that bad!

April2013 Mon 14-Dec-15 16:54:56

I'm in a similar position to you - 1st pregnancy not even a wheeze and this one as soon as i conceived started wheezing. It has been getting steadily worse over the pregnancy (2nd trimester now), preventative inhaler steroid dose increasing every month or so.

I got to the highest dose of inhaler steroids available and 2 months after that still using reliever too much and that not making much difference anyway so had a 5 day course of steroids. I cried when I was prescribed them and I found the side effects no fun, totally paranoid about movements too, but they seem to have worked - you may just need a longer course and that is totally ok, or it might be the effect will kick in soon, definitely see your GP though.

I recommend speaking to the asthma UK helpline, have rung them regularly in a flap about asthma and they have been very helpful and kind. You can discuss the doseage you were given with asthma UK and your inhalers. It might be that whilst the preventative inhalers are kicking in (they apparently take a few weeks to start working properly - when did you start?) - and perhaps you need a higher dose of inhaled steroids - you are on steroids too, but even if you are on steroids for the rest of your pregnancy this is OK too.

Inhaled steroids are V V V low risk to the baby because it stays mostly in your lungs where as steroid tablets do affect the baby more - but this is still fine. Fundamentally the most important thing is to get your asthma well managed and your breathing good so you are not stressed by breathing problems but much more importantly so you don't have an asthma attack as they know that is definitely very bad for the baby.

The risk of steroids is a much smaller issue for the baby than the risk of an asthma attack.

Despite having asthma for 25 years my inhaler technique was discovered to be rubbish last year so I really recommend seeing an asthma nurse at your GP to get that checked, I use a spacer which seems to make it almost foolproof but I keep learning new things like that you should wash the spacer regularly with soapy water and not rinse too heavily, also to gargle after taking it.

Asthma UK recommended I asked for a referral to a respiratory specialist and my gp has done that - apparently at my first appointment they will give me an assessment and then write to my obstetrician with their findings.

Are you under a obstetrician too or just a midwife? Now your asthma is not well managed and you are on steroids you should ask to be put under an obstetrician too, where I am the respiratory specialist will write to obstetrician with a report, together they will manage your asthma throughout pregnancy and birth.

I'm a bit confused as I read here that some birth related drugs are not compatible with asthma drugs so things have to be done slightly differently - but my obstetrician said this was wrong last week and there are no issues here. Will ask again at my next appointment.

As a precaution you probably will be given additional growth scans, I'm getting one at 28 weeks - however my obstetrician said she fully expects there to be no problems at all. Lots of women are on steroids throughout their whole pregnancy and the baby is totally fine, the main thing is your breathing gets better and you don't have an asthma attack.

I have found it all mega stressful and I hate taking drugs in pregnancy, I'm even paranoid about paracetamol and decaf tea, suffered with anxiety badly last pregnancy, but now my asthma is well managed I feel fine about that side of things and reassured that asthma drugs are fine. I think I am just very disappointed I have asthma but it is not so bad once it is well managed and fairly common and the babies are fine. When you arent worrying about your breathing constantly anymore you will hopefully feel much better, asthma is very stressful I think.

Do you think there might be some triggers you could minimise your exposure to?

Check with asthma UK that your GP has you on the right dose of oral steroids and inhaled steroids. My gp originally wanted to give me 3 days but asthma UK said no it should be 5 days.

The other thing is, straight after my 5 day course of oral steroids I was better but still wheezing etc, went to a gp who said their effect would really kick in in a few days time and he was right. I am hassling my GPs no end about my asthma and I think this is the right approach - always ring and ask to speak to one on the day or see one if you are concerned and out of hours you can ring 111.

Asthma UK reassured me that if I had an asthma attack I should just ring 999 straight away and just take my toddler with me.

You could also ask for a peak flow meter, you can then take measurements at home so you get an idea of where you are at with asthma, this is useful when speaking to doctors, though I have often found my peak flow can be fine for me but I still feel awful - I think this is also common, so your peak flow in combination with how you feel your breathing is, is important to keep a close eye on and discuss with your doctor.

At least the inhalers are all free whilst pregnant smile hope you get to well managed soon.

Sorry this is a lot of info - I have found it V overwhelming. I'm on second week of no wheezing after 20 weeks of feeling rubbish but I'm expecting I might get bad again before the end of the pregnancy but I am happy to take steroids if it happens.

Make sure you are still taking your inhalers alongside the oral steroids.

1frenchfoodie Mon 14-Dec-15 16:56:31

fluffy just to echo the rest of the advice. The list of meds unsafe in pregnancy may be long but happily asthma inhalers (corticosteroids) are fine.

I have very well controlled asthma - reliever only and one can last me many months but even I have been hospitalised 2x over my 30 years post diagnosis after not paying attention to chest infections and choosing to soldier on. I am 28wks now and so far asthma has only been a problem during my first trimester when various trigger allergies flared but I'm definately alive to it and ready to hit the drugs.

Runningupthathill82 Mon 14-Dec-15 17:26:22

April -where did you get the info about asthma patients having extra growth scans? Is this in the UK?

Only I've never heard of it, either with me or with my asthma-suffering friends. Didn't know it was a "thing" and I'm starting to wonder if I should've raised it with the midwife, asthma nurse or consultant.

April2013 Mon 14-Dec-15 17:38:40

Hi running - my obstetrician arranged this at my last appointment, not sure if it is a thing or because I asked her opinion on the effect of oral steroids and of frequent breathing difficulties on the baby, it may be just to reassure me, but tbh she gave the impression it was standard practice rather than she was doing me a favour and my midwife also seemed to think it was standard practice. She was very reassuring though about expecting everything to be fine.

fluffypenguinbelly Mon 14-Dec-15 17:41:55

Wow, thank you so much for all of your support.

April- that is fantastic advice all round. I really appreciate it. I am the same as you, don't even take paracetamol and suffer dreadfully with anxiety when pregnant. I also have a toddler. I have never found any part of pregnancy to be an enjoyable experience!

I am sat in the doctors again now. I have a virus which is what seems to have triggered the asthma this time. DD ill too. I also have a dust allergy as a major trigger and the xmas decorations came out of the loft which I don't think helps!

So if doctor prescribes more oral steroids I should just go with it? Or wait a couple more days for the others to kick in? And the blue inhaler is fine just to take as and when regularly?

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