Maternal asthma associated with increased odds of spontaneous abortion

Feb 23rd- Asthmatic women were more likely to experience spontaneous abortion than healthy women.

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1. Asthmatic women were more likely to experience spontaneous abortion than healthy women.

2. Maternal age, teratogenic medications, hypertension and diabetes mellitus were also associated with increased odds of spontaneous abortion.

This retrospective cohort study evaluated the relationship between maternal asthma and abortion and found that maternal asthma was associated with significantly increased odds of spontaneous abortion. These findings suggest that improved control of asthma in women before and during pregnancy may reduce the risk of spontaneous abortion and need for therapeutic abortions.

These findings are limited by retrospective study design, which disallows insight into causality of the association between maternal asthma and abortion.  Additionally, the study was conducted in Quebec, which has a publicly funded health care system, such that results may not be generalizable to all U.S. populations. Strengths of the study include a large sample size allowing for significant comparisons within asthmatic subgroups.

Click to read the study in Human Reproduction

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Image: CC/JHeilman

1. Asthmatic women were more likely to experience spontaneous abortion than healthy women.

2. Maternal age, teratogenic medications, hypertension and diabetes mellitus were also associated with increased risk of spontaneous abortion.

This [retrospective cohort] study assessed the relationship between maternal asthma and abortion in a cohort of women pregnant between 1990 and 2002. All asthmatic women (n= 15107) and a random sample of non-asthmatic women (n=34331) in three health databases were included. Asthma exposure was defined as maternal diagnosis of asthma (filling ≥1 prescription for asthma medication in the two years prior to pregnancy) and was further stratified by disease severity (mild, moderate or severe) and level of control (controlled, uncontrolled). Outcomes assessed were spontaneous abortion, therapeutic abortion, and live birth.

Asthmatic women were more likely to experience spontaneous abortion (OR 1.41, CI 1.33-1.49) and less likely to have a therapeutic abortion (OR 0.92, CI 0.88-0.97). Among asthmatic women, uncontrolled asthma was associated with increased odds of spontaneous abortion (OR 1.26, CI 1.14-1.41) and therapeutic abortion (OR 1.11 CI 1.01-1.21). Numerous risk factors were associated with increased odds of spontaneous abortion: maternal age, socioeconomic status, previous abortions, teratogenic medications, hypertension and diabetes mellitus.

In sum: This retrospective cohort study evaluated the relationship between maternal asthma and abortion and found that maternal asthma was associated with significantly increased odds of spontaneous abortion. These findings suggest that improved control of asthma in women before and during pregnancy may reduce the risk of spontaneous abortion and need for therapeutic abortions.

These findings are limited by retrospective study design, which does not permit establishment of a causal link between maternal asthma and abortion.  Additionally, the study was conducted in Quebec, which has a publicly funded health care system, such that results may not be generalizable to all U.S. populations. Strengths of the study include a large sample size allowing for significant comparisons within asthmatic subgroups.

Click to read the study in Human Reproduction

By Denise Pong and Leah Hawkins

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