Asthma: treatment during pregnancy

Paula Russell, Principal Pharmacist, Regional Drug and Therapeutics Centre (Newcastle Upon Tyne)Published

Signposting evidence-based information on the treatment of asthma during pregnancy

Condition management

It is important to complete an individual risk assessment for your patient and to apply the principles of prescribing during pregnancy when looking at the available information and making treatment decisions. Check to see if a risk assessment has already been completed by the specialist team.

Guidelines

NICE provides good pre-conception advice on asthma:

  • It is important to take asthma medication as prescribed, both before conception and throughout the pregnancy, to maintain good asthma control.
  • Treatment of controlled asthma requires little modification in pregnancy.
  • The risks from uncontrolled asthma are much greater than the risk from asthma treatment during pregnancy.
  • Steroid tablets should be used as normal in the pre-conception period and during pregnancy and never withheld because of pregnancy.

The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) and the British Thoracic Society (BTS) provide the British Guideline on the management of asthma for adults.

You should check if there is local guidance for you to use in your area.

Pregnancy outcome information

UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS) provides information on pregnancy outcomes for specific medicines including inhaled corticosteroids and montelukast 

Patient information

Each of the UKTIS summaries has corresponding Best Use of Medicines in pregnancy (BUMPS) patient information.

SIGN and BTS have produced a helpful booklet answering questions about asthma in pregnancy and explaining the recommendations of their clinical guideline.

NHS Medicines A-Z provides information on Asthma and pregnancy and has a summary statement on the use in pregnancy of specific asthma medicines.

More from safety in pregnancy

All our training and guidance to help decision making about the use of medicines in pregnancy