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The US National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) recently updated its asthma guidelines for pregnant women. "The NAEPP expert panel's review of the evidence concludes that it is safer for pregnant women with asthma to be treated with asthma medications than for them to have asthma symptoms and exacerbations,"said Barbara Alving, MD, acting director of the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
She explained that "the guidelines also recommend obstetric care providers become part of the patient's asthma management team to help ensure that the patient's asthma is evaluated frequently and her care plan is adjusted as needed to help her have a healthy pregnancy."
The new guidelines include suggestions for a step-by-step approach for treatment based on asthma severity and a synopsis of gestational safety data for specific asthma drugs. Furthermore, recommendations include monitoring asthma control during pregnancy so that necessary treatment modifications can be made to maintain the mother's lung function and make sure the fetus has a sufficient oxygen supply. (The updated guidelines were reported in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, January 2005.)