Asthma in Women, Asthma in Pregnancy (cont.)

Technically speaking, asthma is no longer defined as mild, moderate, or severe. Instead, more specific categories are now used, and doctors base their treatments on them. Asthma classification categories are now mild intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent, and severe persistent. Within each one of these categories, attacks can be mild, moderate, or severe.

Summary of Treatment Issues Specific to Asthma and Pregnancy

Asthma course can get better, worsen, or stay the same during pregnancy, in unpredictable fashion. Risk of using asthma medications during pregnancy is much lower than the risk of bad outcomes due to uncontrolled asthma. Oxygen supply for the fetus relies on proper control of a pregnant woman's asthma. Asthma is to be treated as aggressively in pregnant as in nonpregnant women, with both rescue and preventive medications. Although women are understandably worried about using any medications during pregnancy, use of asthma medications during pregnancy clearly bring about less in the way of bad outcomes than does leaving asthma uncontrolled during pregnancy.

References, and for further information or help, Government initiatives and national organizations devoted to asthma.

(1) The Global Initiative for Asthma is a project of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization. Its purpose is to increase public awareness of asthma, support asthma research, decrease its harmful toll on the U.S., and improve its management. Information is at

(2) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is at, and their specific asthma information for the public is at, 1-301-251-1222

(3) The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health

(4) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is at 800-438-4318,

(5) The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is at

(6) The American Lung Association is at 1-800-LUNG-USA,

(7) The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology is at, 1-800-822-2762

(8) The Office of Women's Health of the Federal Drug Administration has a section called Women's Health: Take Time to Care, at

(9) En espanol (in Spanish):

(10) The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is at, 1-800-727-8642

(11) The National Jewish Medical and Research Center is at, and its information service is at 1-800-222-LUNG

(12) The American Thoracic Society is at

(13) The American College of Chest Physicians is at

(14) The Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Online (from American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology) is at

(15) The Mayo Clinic Health Oasis Allergy & Asthma Center is at

(16) The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) is at /naepp/naep_pd.htm, 1-301-251-1222

(17) The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology 1-800-842-7777


(A) Drazen et al, Treatment of asthma with drugs modifying the leukotriene pathway, NEJM, 340(3):197-206.

Last Editorial Review: 4/5/2002