“Recognizing the early signs of an asthma attack is the best possible protection for my baby”
Emma*, 29, is looking forward to the birth of her first child. But she’s worried: the mom-to-be is an asthmatic. She’s suffered from since childhood. This is a severe form of asthma. Despite treatment, her health can deteriorate at any time. And that could affect her unborn baby. “Unfortunately, due to the hormonal changes my asthma hasn’t improved during pregnancy, quite the contrary. The rounder my belly gets, the more difficult it is to breathe normally. I often lie awake at night, so I’m permanently exhausted. And then there’s the constant worry of an asthma attack.
- One in three patients experiences a worsening of their asthma symptoms during pregnancy.
- The pregnancy hormone progesterone increases inflammatory reactions of the body. This also increases asthma symptoms and the risk of severe asthma attacks. Around one in five women with asthma experiences asthma attacks requiring treatment during pregnancy.
- Breathing problems in pregnant women can lead to a drop in the oxygen content of maternal blood, which can also damage the fetus. This can lead to miscarriages, deformities or even congenital defects in the child.
- Cortisone sprays are considered suitable and safe for use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. (Source: TK)
- Emergency drugs can have a damaging effect on the embryo in very high quantities. (Source: )
Shortness of breath can harm the baby
Then, if the worse came to the worst, my baby would also get less oxygen, which could be very harmful – and I could give birth prematurely. So I’m doing all I can to recognize the first signs of an impending asthma attack and prevent its onset. A friend told me about a new device, Vivatmo me, that can determine the degree of inflammation in my airways by measuring something called the FeNO value. My little helper indicates f that something’s up – even before I notice any asthma symptoms. All I have to do is blow into the device. A traffic light system shows me how bad the inflammation is. This enables me to consult my doctor as soon as it’s necessary and decide together whether I need to up my meds.
FeNO measurement for self-management at home
I can take the measurement myself, at home. It’s a reassuring feeling to be able to better judge what’s happening in my lungs. My doctor encourages me that self-management, as he calls it, is especially important now. He also explained that most asthma medications are also considered safe to take during pregnancy. If I didn’t treat my asthma, I would not only be jeopardizing my own health, but that of my baby, too. He always says the greatest risk for mother and child doesn’t come from the preventive medication, but from asthma itself.
Knowing that I’m taking the best possible care of my baby and myself gives me strength and the hope that I can get through pregnancy without an asthma attack.”