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Building the Asthma and Pregnancy Toolkit

One AAAAI member saw an unmet need for asthmatic pregnant patients and rose to the challenge
Jennifer A. Namazy, MD, FAAAAI
Jennifer A. Namazy, MD, FAAAAI, has been passionate about asthma and pregnancy for over 20 years. “My interest started while I was in training,” she said. “I was working on a project looking at the safety of inhaled corticosteroids during pregnancy. To this day I’ve continued doing research on asthma and pregnancy, looking for ways to improve outcomes and maternal quality of life.”
The Asthma and Pregnancy Toolkit, also known as “Breathe 4 Baby,” was created to address knowledge gaps in managing asthma during pregnancy.
“We know that severe asthma during pregnancy has adverse outcomes, but improving asthma control during pregnancy improves outcomes or even negates them. But we’ve seen there’s a significant barrier to asthma management including adherence, treatment plans and physician under-treatment,” she explained. “I was really inspired by the School-Based Allergy, Asthma and Anaphylaxis Management ProgramTM (SA3MPROTM). I wanted to create something similar for pregnant asthmatics that could be shared among all providers caring for pregnant people.”
Dr. Namazy worked closely with a small team of volunteers from the Vaccines and Medications in Pregnancy Surveillance System Taskforce (VAMPSS), and the Women’s Health in A/I Committee, in collaboration with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) to make the toolkit a reality.
One of the major pieces of the toolkit is a modified and validated Asthma Control Test for pregnant women that was first published in 2016. The second major resource is a Pregnancy and Lactation Asthma Plan. “There are unique symptoms pregnant patients may have that can be another sign of poor asthma control,” Dr. Namazy said. “Vaginal bleeding and headaches, as well as subtle differences in fetal movement could indicate asthma isn’t properly controlled, but it’s not something everyone realizes.”
Education on the topic is important, not just for allergists but all providers who work with pregnant patients, and the patients themselves. The Breathe 4 Baby Toolkit gathers important educational resources and places them all in a centralized location where they can be easily downloaded. “It will be helpful to providers taking care of the patients, but also patients themselves as it gives them the tools they need for self-management,” Dr. Namazy said. “Patients can self-monitor, which is a really important way to get patients involved in their own care and give them a sense of control over their chronic conditions.”