Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Pregnancy asthma service:

An Adelaide hospital will run the first Australian trial of a pregnancy asthma service.
By Motherpedia
Date: January 17 2013
Editor Rating:

Australia's first dedicated asthma service for pregnant women will be established this year in a trial of what researchers hope will reduce the adverse effects of asthma on the growth and survival of babies.

Associate Professor Vicki Clifton from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Institute says a trial asthma service for pregnant women will be established at Lyell McEwin Hospital in North Adelaide.

"Asthma affects about 16% of pregnancies in South Australia, which is a huge problem because pregnancy worsens asthma. This can have serious consequences for the growth and survival of the baby," Associate Professor Clifton says.

"Unfortunately, asthma has been poorly treated during pregnancy for many years. Currently there is no dedicated asthma service for pregnant women in Australia, and government funding is not forthcoming to support a trial to determine the cost effectiveness and clinical effectiveness of such a service.”

A trial service will be run on a limited budget because of the potential to change clinical practice and to help a significant proportion of pregnant women in Australia.

According to SA Health figures, maternal asthma contributes to 20% of all preterm births in the South Australia, 15% of stillbirths and 15% of growth-restricted fetuses. Asthma is also associated with pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, haemorrhage and congenital abnormalities.

"We now have more information than ever before about how and why asthma worsens during pregnancy, and why it can have such a detrimental effect on the baby, but much more research needs to be done," A/Professor Clifton says.

"Better understanding the mechanisms that worsen asthma, with a view to improving treatment, will be a key aim of our future research.

"However, we also need to see improvements in clinical practice. By introducing a dedicated asthma service, we hope to raise awareness of the problems experienced by mothers and their unborn babies from asthma, and provide treatment and advice.

"Ultimately, with the right care and management, our aim is to reduce the number of preterm births, stillbirths, and growth-restricted fetuses that are directly affected by asthma," A/Professor Clifton says.

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