Pregnancy and Race Complicate Asthma

Published Online: Saturday, October 1, 2005

A study of 4315 pregnant women with asthma in the Tennessee Medicaid program found that asthma complications among low-income pregnant women were high, with African American women more vulnerable. Reporting in Obstetrics and Gynecology (July 2005), the researchers indicated that 11% of the patients required emergency room visits and 6% needed hospitalization for asthma exacerbations during pregnancy.

Despite health coverage through Medicaid, African American women experienced more asthma complications, compared with Caucasians. A look at prenatal care showed that African American women received less care than Caucasian women, based on the timing of their first prenatal visits and services received. Of the participants, only 16% were taking inhaled medications while pregnant. Overall, 13% ended up requiring at least one prescription for "rescue" corticosteroids to control asthma symptoms.

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