More monitoring of asthma in pregnancy

PREGNANT women with asthma are at increased risk of complications, including pre-eclampsia, and should be monitored monthly, Australian and US researchers say.

A meta-analysis of 33 studies involving more than 1.5 million patients showed maternal asthma was associated with an increased relative risk of low birth weight (46%), small for gestational age (22%), preterm delivery (41%)and pre-eclampsia (54%).

As the majority of women with asthma have a mild form of the condition, the size of the risks may be greater in subgroups where asthma is uncontrolled or exacerbations are experienced in pregnancy, said the authors from the Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle, and the University of California.

Uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy may lead to adverse outcomes as a result of chronic maternal hypoxia, or there may be a common pathogenesis of both severe asthma and perinatal complications, they said. 

They noted the relative risk