How I was Treated for Asthma During Pregnancy

There I was. Pregnant. Just six weeks into my pregnancy, in fact. I woke up, gasping for air and unable to get a solid breath in. It was an asthma attack and I was frantic.

In my desperation, I woke my husband and went to the hospital. It was a tenuous time for me. My peak flow meter readings showed that my breathing was dangerously low and several doses of albuterol failed to elevate it to the doctor’s satisfaction. They wanted to admit the barely pregnant me for my asthma because as a pregnant woman if you are unable to breathe, so is the baby.

The emergency staff consulted with the hospital’s pulmonology director who agreed to take me immediately on as a patient and ordered a number of medications to treat my asthma. It was the first time in my asthma-filled life that I saw a pulmonologist for the problem. I was so nervous, being pregnant and asthmatic, but he reassured me and fit me in every month during the pregnancy.

It took until I was more than six months along in my pregnancy before the asthma was controlled. It took a combination of a course of prednisone, Advair in it’s largest dosage, Singulair, Flonaise, albuterol and Claritin to control my asthma during pregnancy. My pulmonologist went out of his way to ensure that everything he prescribed was safe for pregnancy. Medications are ranked on a tiered scale – basically 1 is okay for anybody (like Tylonol), 2 is okay when necessary, and 3 is not recommended.

I am not a proponent of medication during pregnancy unless absolutely necessary. When it comes to breathing – to oxygen intake – it is absolutely necessary during pregnancy. And, I think the most important thing about the medications is that their minute risks far outweigh the risks if the baby doesn’t get enough oxygen. Oxygen is paramount to all else for growth and development. Furthermore, uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy (asthma that isn’t being treated for whatever reason) can cause premature birth, low birth weight, and other serious risks.

My advice to any pregnant woman who experiences trouble with their asthma: Take the medications that you are prescribed. It’s better for you and for the baby while pregnant. Not being able to breath is too risky during pregnancy.

I’ve also heard some people say that Advair doesn’t work. If your dosage isn’t working, call your doctor because you may need a stronger dosage. I started out on the 100/50 dosage which did nothing for me. My pulmonologist who upped me to the 500/50 dosage and that got me through the toughest pregnant months. Eventually, I was dropped down to the 250/50 dosage, which was perfect for that point in my pregnancy.

I hope this helps someone else, because I could have really used this information when I was six weeks pregnant and in the hospital.

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