Severe acute asthma

Semin Perinatol. 2013 Aug;37(4):234-45. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2013.04.003.


Asthma is common among women of reproductive age and affects between 4% and 8% of pregnant women. Pregnancy outcomes are correlated to the degree of asthma severity and control. Approximately one-third of pregnant women with asthma remain stable, a third will have improvement of their asthma, and a third will have worsening of the disease. Pregnant women with severe asthma are at markedly increased risk of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality, preeclampsia, low-birth weight infants, and preterm delivery. A severe asthma exacerbation in a pregnant woman may be clinically daunting, however immediate intervention with appropriate supplemental oxygenation, medical therapy, and intubation if necessary can be life-saving. A focus on maternal well-being and pulmonary function in a pregnant asthmatic is essential to ensure optimal outcomes for both mother and her fetus. This article will provide an overview of asthma management, particularly in the acute care setting.

Keywords: Acute exacerbation; Asthma; Management; Outcome; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Perinatal Mortality
  • Pre-Eclampsia
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Premature Birth
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents