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Asthma is a condition that affects the airways i.e. the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. When a person with asthma comes into contact with something that irritates their airways (a trigger), the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so that the airways become narrower and the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell. Sometimes, sticky mucus or phlegm builds up, which can further narrow the airways. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Pregnancy and Asthma

Research has shown that smoking during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of a child developing asthma. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to develop asthma.

Smoking while pregnant significantly increases your baby’s risk of being wheezy or having breathing difficulties being wheezy or having breathing difficulties.

Asthma, like many allergic conditions often runs in the family. If both parents have asthma the chances of your baby developing asthma are higher. If you have asthma the chances of your baby developing it are higher than if only the father has asthma.

Symptoms of asthma

The usual symptoms of asthma are:

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in the chest

Not everyone will get all of these symptoms and some may people experience them from time to time.

Signs that asthma is probably getting worse include:

  • Asthma signs and symptoms become more frequent and bothersome
  • Increasing difficulty breathing
  • The need to use a inhaler more often


Asthma can’t be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled. Because asthma often changes over time and severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening it is important to work with a doctor ahead of time to determine what to do when signs and symptoms worsen.

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