New Study Shows Link Between Asthma in Pregnancy and Premature Birth, Preeclampsia

Non-Profit Director Co-Authors Study of More Than 1 Million Pregnancies
Tucson, Ariz. – An extensive review of pregnancies over the course of more than three decades shows that women with poorly managed asthma are at an increased risk of having a low-birth weight baby, a premature baby and other pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia. The new study was recently published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
 
Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego and program director of the California Teratogen Information Service Pregnancy Health Information Line, was part of the team of seven researchers who reviewed data involving more than one million women between 1975 and 2009.
 
“The findings are significant and call for women with asthma to be more closely monitored during pregnancy,” explained Dr. Chambers.
 
“We advise that women on regular medications for asthma or having frequent symptoms be monitored at least monthly during the course of their pregnancies. This is particularly important for women whose asthma is not currently in good control,” said Dee Quinn, MS, CGC, director of the Arizona Pregnancy Riskline. The riskline educates Arizona citizens about exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The study found that the infants of women with asthma were likely to weigh an average of 0.2 pounds less at birth compared to babies of mothers without asthma. Mothers with poorly controlled asthma were also at a 25 percent increased risk of pre-term birth and 50 percent increased risk of developing preeclampsia, a condition in which high blood pressure develops during pregnancy.
 
The pregnancy riskline’s national affiliate, the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), in collaboration with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, recently launched an extensive study regarding asthma medications in pregnancy. It is an observational study where medications and asthma control of pregnant women are carefully monitored and related to pregnancy outcomes. OTIS is seeking both pregnant women with asthma and pregnant women who do not have asthma. To learn more about the study or to volunteer, please visit OTISPregnancy.org.
 
The Centers for Disease Control has recognized OTIS as the primary resource for information about medications in pregnancy. In Arizona, questions or concerns women or health-care providers have about medications and other exposures in pregnancy or breastfeeding can be directed to Arizona Pregnancy Riskline counselors at 888-285-3410 or email at: www.pharmacy.arizona.edu/centers/pregnancy-riskline.
 
Outside of Arizona, please call OTIS at 866-626-6847.
 
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About the Arizona Pregnancy Riskline
The Arizona Pregnancy Riskline is a part of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center located at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. The Arizona Pregnancy Riskline is dedicated to providing accurate, evidence-based, clinical information to patients and health-care professionals about exposures during pregnancy and lactation through its toll-free hotline 888-285-3410 and website www.pharmacy.arizona.edu/centers/pregnancy-riskline.