During pregnancy, patients with asthma are at risk of poor outcomes, particularly when asthma is poorly controlled. The aim of this study was to determine the level of asthma self-management skills and knowledge among pregnant subjects and describe the implementation of an asthma education programme delivered in an antenatal clinic setting. Pregnant subjects with asthma were assessed by an asthma educator at 20 (n = 211) and 33 weeks gestation (n=149). Lung function, symptoms, medication use, adherence, knowledge and inhaler technique were assessed. They were asked whether they had a written asthma action plan, or performed peak flow monitoring. Asthma was classified as mild, moderate or severe. At the first visit with the asthma educator, 40% of females reported nonadherence to inhaled corticosteroids, inhaler technique was assessed as inadequate in 16% and 42% had inadequate medication knowledge. Peak flow monitoring was performed by 3% and 15% had a written action plan. There were significant improvements in all aspects of asthma self-management following education. In females with severe asthma, night symptoms and reliever medication use significantly decreased after education. In conclusion, during pregnancy, patients with asthma have poor asthma knowledge and skills, and may benefit from self-management education as part of their obstetric care.
European Respiratory Journal Vol. 26, no. 3, p. 435-441