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Asthma increases risks around delivery

Presented by
Dr Paula Kauppi, University of Helsinki, Finland
NLC 2022
Asthma is associated with increased risks of perinatal mortality, preterm birth, asphyxia, low birth weight, and foetal growth restriction (small for gestational age [SGA]), Dr Paula Kauppi (University of Helsinki, Finland) explained in her lecture. Asthma treatment reduces the risk of preterm delivery, but it does not seem to reduce other complications (esp. not the perinatal mortality rate).

A Finnish study aimed to assess the association between maternal asthma and the perinatal risks as well as the possible impact of asthma medication on these risks. The study included 962,405 singleton live and stillbirths in which 93.3% of pregnancies were in mothers with neither confirmed asthma nor use of asthma medication and 2.8% pregnancies in mothers who had confirmed maternal asthma. Main outcome measures were premature birth, low birth weight, SGA, and neonatal death. Maternal asthma was associated with an adjusted odds ratio (aORs) for perinatal mortality of 1.24 (95% CI 1.05–1.46), preterm birth 1.18 (95% CI 1.11–1.25), low birth weight 1.29 (95% CI 1.21–1.37), foetal growth restriction (SGA) 1.32 (95% CI 1.24–1.40), and asphyxia 1.09 (95% CI 1.02–1.17). Although asthma treatment (based on filled prescriptions) was associated with a reduced risk of preterm birth aOR 0.85 (95% CI 0.76–0.96), mothers who received asthma treatment had higher risks of foetal growth restriction (SGA): aOR 1.26 (95% CI 1.10–1.45) and asphyxia aOR 1.37 (95% CI 1.17–1.61) compared with mothers with untreated asthma [1,2]. This study did not investigate/report the actual adherence to asthma medication nor provided data on asthma control (pre-post treatment).

  1. Kemppainen M, et al. PLoS One. 2018 May 18:13(5):a0197593.
  2. Kauppi P. Fertility and airway diseases-Why is there an association? Nordic Lung Congress 2022, 01–03 June, Copenhagen, Denmark.


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