Are you suffering from breathing issues like asthma? Do you need to use an inhaler often? Are you pregnant and confused whether it is okay for you to continue using the inhaler even now and then?
While you are pregnant, various medicines and drugs may not be safe for your unborn baby. Read on to know whether an inhaler can be safely used through your pregnancy or not.
How Can Asthma Attacks During Pregnancy Affect My Baby?
If you are an asthmatic and are pregnant, your chances of having a healthy baby are still strong. However, keeping your asthma attacks during pregnancy is extremely important. If you have uncontrolled asthma during your pregnancy, it can adversely affect your unborn baby. It could lead to medical complications like pre-eclampsia (1) (a condition where the placenta does not work properly), high blood pressure, premature birth and low birth weight of your baby.
You need to check with your doctor about which type of inhaler you should use during your pregnancy.
[ Read: Breathing Problem During Pregnancy ]
What You Need To Know About Asthma Inhalers During Pregnancy:
All inhalers contain asthma medications in a liquid form. Inhalers help directly pump the medication into your lungs. While most inhalers look the same, the drug compositions may vary. Hence, it is important you know what you are using.
Some inhalers contain corticosteroids (2). Glucocorticosteroids or topical corticosteroids reduce the inflammation in your lungs and airway and ease breathing. Doctors may administer asthma inhalers containing corticosteroids during emergency or preventive care situations. The most common corticosteroids are triamcinolone, fluticasone, ciclesonide, flunisolide, budesonide and beclomethasone.
Your inhaler may contain bronchodilator(3), another form of medication to treat asthma. Bronchodilator does not contain any steroids for inhalation, but helps relieve inflammation. Three kinds of bronchodilators that doctors usually prescribe are theophyllines, anticholinergics, and beta-agonists. There are certain drug ingredients in the bronchodilators like albuterol, ipratropium, pirbuterol, and levalbuterol that provide instant relief from asthma. These drugs do not treat your asthma but only provide temporary relief from its symptoms. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe certain asthma medications that have long-lasting effects in combination with bronchodilators. These types of bronchodilators are usually salmeterol and beta-agonists formoterol.
Certain types of inhalers are anti-inflammatory. These do not contain steroids and are less effective in comparison to other asthma inhalers. These are mostly the nedocromil and the cromolyn variety of inhalers. These inhalers will help reduce or prevent the symptoms of asthma. Remember do not go for OTC drugs especially during your pregnancy. Consult your doctor and follow his advice on medication and dosages.
[ Read: Steroids During Pregnancy ]
Is It Safe To Use Asthma Inhaler During Pregnancy?
Many studies vouch for the benefits of using an asthma inhaler during pregnancy. In most of these results, the findings are all positive! In fact, as per most doctors, using an inhaler while you are pregnant will reduce your chances of an asthma attack and improve your lung function (4).
However, there are recent studies that say using inhalers while pregnant is not entirely safe. Using steroid based inhalers while you are pregnant can increase the risk of hormonal and metabolic disorders in your unborn baby (5). These findings are elementary, and demand advanced research.
In the meanwhile, doctors suggest that you continue using prescribed inhalers as opposed to not using them. Using an inhaler, even if it is steroid based, will decrease chances of risk to your baby. The side effects of using them are far less than not using them at all.
[ Read: 12 Causes Of Low Birth Weight In Babies ]
If you are suffering from asthma, do speak to your doctor about what is the best treatment for you during pregnancy. Ask about options that are least harmful to your unborn baby.
If you have suffered from asthma during your pregnancy, please share your advice and experience with us.
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