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AimTo update obstetric care providers about asthma management.SummaryAsthma is the most frequent comorbid chronic illness in pregnancy. Convincing evidence shows that uncontrolled asthma magnifies the risk of maternal, fetal and neonate complications. Unfortunately, one in four women take no inhaler during pregnancy, and it is likely that decreased adherence, rather than changes in pathology, explains uncontrolled maternal asthma. Patient surveys reveal a need for information and reassurance. Although some molecules are preferred in pregnancy, there is currently no basis to withhold any asthma medication - old or new. Biomarkers such as blood eosinophils and fractional exhaled nitric oxide are an effective way to assess the risk of asthma attacks and the likelihood of responding to inhaled steroids. Furthermore, practice-changing trials in mild asthma show that switching reliever-only regimens to as-needed 'controller-and-reliever' therapy is effective. We suggest that applying these changes can alleviate women's concerns and improve outcomes.

Original publication




Journal article


Obstetric medicine

Publication Date





135 - 144


Respiratory Medicine Unit and Oxford Respiratory NIHR BRC, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.