A new test that measures inflammation in a pregnant woman’s lungs can be used to modify her asthma treatment – and potentially prevent asthma in her child.
The team behind the research say that by tweaking the medication of mums who showed lung inflammation via a special breath test, they’ve halved the rate of asthma for babies in their study group, and also reduced the frequency of recurrent lung infections.
“Ultimately, it means that kids will grow up without asthma who would have had it,” head of the study and Hunter Medical Research Institute scientist Dr Adam Collison told the ABC.
Dr Collison said the rate of asthma in babies and children whose mothers had followed asthma prevention guidelines was 40 percent. The rate in babies and children whose mothers had the breath test – and corresponding medication adjustments – was a much lower 20 percent. It’s a huge breakthrough and indicates that correctly treating asthma in pregnant mothers will create much better outcomes, asthma-wise, for their children.
Preventing asthma during pregnancy
Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand President, Professor Peter Gibson told the ABC the breath test will prevent asthma in many kids. “Here, we show that adjusting asthma treatment in the mother using a breath test can prevent asthma in the child,” Professor Gibson confirmed.
The breath test works by measuring the level of nitric oxide in an asthmatic mother’s lungs. When the levels are high, their asthma medication was increased, and their asthma was more efficiently controlled. Better asthma control in mums meant a reduced incidence of asthma in their children. Everybody wins.
Optimal asthma management is vital
Experts are now urging women who are planning children – or those who are currently pregnant – to take their asthma management even more seriously and check in with their doctor to ensure they’re being treated optimally.
“You might not have this breath test, but you have to know for sure you’re being carefully monitored, that you take your preventative medication because it can make a big difference to the attacks you have but also more importantly, it could also reduce the likelihood that your baby is going to have asthma,” Chairwoman of the Lung Foundation, Christine Jenkins, said.
What an amazing and life-changing advance for so many families.
Are you asthmatic and pregnant (or hoping to be?) Get thyself to the doctor ASAP! You could save your baby (or baby-t0-be) the pain of asthma – and potentially save their life.