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20-06-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Maternal asthma may increase risk for adverse perinatal outcomes


Free abstract

MedWire News: Adverse perinatal outcomes are more common in pregnant women with asthma than in those without the respiratory condition, research suggests.

Writing in the European Respiratory Journal, Lucie Blais (University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada) and team explain: “Adverse perinatal outcomes, such as a preterm birth, a low-birth-weight (LBW) infant and a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infant, have been reported to be higher in pregnant women with asthma when compared to women without asthma in some studies, but not in other studies.”

To investigate further, the team studied data on outcomes from 40,788 pregnancies in the province of Quebec between 1990 and 2002. Of these, 13,007 pregnancies were in asthmatic women and 27,781 were in women without the condition.

In total, 4834 babies were born SGA (a birth weight below the 10th percentile for gestational age and gender), 2772 were LBW babies (lower than 2500 g), and 3188 were born pre-term (before 37 weeks of gestation).

After accounting for factors such as maternal age, smoking, body mass index, parity, socio-economic status, diabetes, and pregnancy-induced hypertension, the researchers found that the risks for SGA, LBW, and preterm babies were significantly higher among asthmatic than non-asthmatic women, at odds ratios (ORs) of 1.27, 1.41, and 1.64, respectively.

The risks for SGA and LBW babies were even higher among asthmatic women who suffered an exacerbation during pregnancy (n=1970) compared with non-asthmatic women, at respective adjusted ORs of 1.41 and 1.55.

Blais and team conclude: “Our study showed that asthmatic women, whether or not they had an asthma exacerbation, were at increased risk of having a LBW, preterm and SGA baby.”

They add: “Considering the high prevalence of asthma among pregnant women and the fact that uncontrolled asthma has been associated with adverse perinatal outcomes, it is essential to develop preventive, therapeutic and healthcare strategies to insure an optimal treatment of asthma during pregnancy to minimize the adverse perinatal outcomes of asthma.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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