Shining the Spotlight on Asthma During Pregnancy

Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects around 9.7% of adult women and 6.2% of adult males. Researchers believe the condition is more prevalent in girls and women as fluctuating levels of hormones, including progesterone and estrogen, can affect a woman’s airways.

For women with asthma, pregnancy comes with additional risks. Pregnancy by itself is a risky endeavor that often puts incredible mental and physical strain on expectant mothers.  With the presence of asthma, pregnant asthmatic women can find it extra hard to breathe during asthma attacks; such attacks can reduce the amount of oxygen going to the fetus and result in issues such as developmental delays and growth abnormalities.

Compared to healthy women, women with asthma are slightly more likely to develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. They also have a higher risk of preeclampsia, a high blood pressure disorder in pregnant women that is characterized by disruptions in the function of blood vessels in the placenta. Preeclampsia can lead to the development of general high blood pressure and cause damage to the brain, kidneys, liver and other organs in pregnant mothers.

Uncontrolled asthma in asthmatic pregnant women can result in abnormally slow fetus growth by limiting the oxygen supply to the baby as well as preterm births, lower-than-usual birth weights, and even death while still in-utero or after birth. Consequently, it is crucial that asthmatic women engage with their healthcare providers to develop asthma action plans before or when they get pregnant to help protect both the mother’s and baby’s health.

Such a plan would limit inflammation in the airways and reduce the number of asthma attacks the mother suffers while pregnant. The first move would be to connect an asthma doctor with an obstetrician and make sure they discuss how to handle treatment for the duration of pregnancy.

Pregnant women should also contact their doctor or seek emergency aid right away if they notice that the baby is moving less than usual during or after an asthma attack as even a few minutes of oxygen deprivation can cause fetal death. Regular ultrasounds will allow an obstetrician to monitor the fetus’ growth and will be especially helpful in checking a baby’s condition after a women experiences an asthma attack. Pregnant women will also want to avoid asthma triggers such as dust mites and tobacco to avoid triggering a new asthma attack.

If asthma attacks are caused by allergies, a physician may recommend treating the allergies to keep the asthma at bay during pregnancy.

Companies such as BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: BVXV) are seeking to develop better therapeutics against autoimmune conditions, including allergies, so that different groups of patients, such as pregnant women, can effectively manage those illnesses while enjoying a better quality of life.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: BVXV) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/BVXV

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