Should You Stop Taking Your Asthma Medicine to Get Pregnant?


A recent study looked into how short-acting beta-agonists (SABA) can impact fertility. SABAs are a common medicine used to help asthma, but it can impact women’s fertility.

Previously women have been nervous because asthma itself can lead to serious complications during pregnancy and sometimes infant morbidity.

Women participated in a survey so researchers could study their health history and gauge how other symptoms might affect the study as well. They selected a group of women who they defined as current asthmatics, which they defined as those who had experienced symptoms within the last year and who were using treatment for their asthma.

They then further divided those selected into two groups, one of which was on SABAs or other short-term medicines and the other that used long-acting beta-agonists. They also kept the former asthmatics in the study as a control group.

Then they monitored how long it took each group to get pregnant. They decided that subfertility would be described as cases where it took a woman longer than twelve months to become pregnant.

After the research was published Dr. Luke E. Grzeskowiak, PhD, National Health and Medical Research Career Fellow at Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Australia told MD Magazine that asthma is linked to infertility, but that they only found fertility issues in women who were using SABAs. Women using LABAs or who were classified as former asthmatics had relatively normal fertility rates.

There were some issues in the study that Dr. Grzeskowiak outlined, such as they didn’t follow all of their subjects from the moment they started trying to conceive and that they had to rely on the women themselves to outline how long it took them to get pregnant.

“What we do know, is that improving asthma control prior to pregnancy sets women up for the best possible pregnancy outcomes,” Dr. Grzeskowiak said.

If you’re on a short-term asthma medication or not treating your asthma at all, the best thing to do is to contact your doctor to create a plan of action. But if you’re an asthmatic using a long-term medication or you haven’t experienced symptoms for a year, your chances of getting pregnant are probably not being affected by your asthma.