Cesarean deliveries and preeclampsia are more prevalent in asthmatic women as a result of obesity, not asthma, according to researchers from Huntzel Hospital-Wayne State University. The data, which appeared in the July 2006 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, focused on approximately 1700 pregnant women with asthma and > 800 pregnant women without asthma. In the asthma group, 30.7% were obese, compared with 25.5% in the control group. Removing the presence of asthma from the equation, obese women were 60% more likely to undergo cesarean delivery and 70% more likely to develop preeclampsia or high blood pressure. Obese women were also more than 4 times as likely to have diabetes related to pregnancy. Rates of asthma improvement between the obese women and the nonobese women were not remarkable, just as there was little difference in the rates of asthma deterioration. Obese women, however, were 30% more likely to experience asthma exacerbations, according to the study. Researchers conclude that further study is needed to determine the effects excess weight has on asthma during pregnancy.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.