Asthma and pregnancy
How pregnancy affects asthma
If you have asthma, it's hard to predict whether your asthma symptoms will be any different in pregnancy. Some women's symptoms will improve, others may not see any change and some will find they get worse.
See a GP, asthma nurse or specialist as soon as you know you're pregnant for advice on how to manage your asthma.
Your midwife will support you throughout your pregnancy, but your GP, asthma nurse or specialist will continue to manage your asthma care.
You're also more likely to suffer from acid reflux – when stomach acid travels back up towards the throat – while pregnant, which can make asthma worse.
Non-urgent advice: See your GP, asthma nurse or specialist if you have asthma and you're:
- using more of your reliever than usual
- coughing or wheezing more, especially at night
- feeling shortness of breath or tightness in your chest
Any of these could mean your asthma is getting worse and needs to be checked. Your health professional can review your medicines and make changes if necessary.
Immediate action required: Call 999 if you're having an asthma attack and any of these apply:
- you don't have your inhaler with you
- you feel worse despite using your inhaler
- you don't feel better after taking 10 puffs
Never be frightened of calling for help in an emergency.
Asthma treatments and pregnancy
Don't stop taking your asthma medicine – talk to a GP, asthma nurse or specialist first.
Most asthma medicines are safe to use in pregnancy and, if your asthma is well controlled, there's little to no risk for you or your baby.
You should continue to take your prescribed asthma treatments throughout pregnancy. Unless your asthma gets worse, your treatment can remain exactly the same as before.
Your symptoms may get worse if you stop taking your medicine. This can pose a risk for your own health and increase the risk of your baby having a low birthweight.
Asthma treatments and breastfeeding
It's safe to continue any asthma treatment while you're breastfeeding. Even when you're busy with your new baby, it's important not to neglect your own health and to keep your asthma under control.
Managing your asthma during pregnancy
There are things you can do to help manage your condition during pregnancy, such as:
- using a preventer inhaler (steroids) when you get a cough or cold – speak to a doctor about using preventer inhalers in pregnancy
- avoiding smoking – get tips on stopping smoking in pregnancy
- avoiding things that trigger allergic reactions for you – for example, pet fur
- controlling hay fever with antihistamines – talk to a doctor or pharmacist about which antihistamines are safe to take in pregnancy
- avoiding hay fever triggers, such as mowing the lawn
- continuing to exercise and eat a healthy diet
Visit Asthma UK for more information on asthma and pregnancy or call the helpline on 0300 222 5800, open 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday.
Page last reviewed: 15 March 2018
Next review due: 15 March 2021