Wife, 41, pregnant, asthma bad - what next?

Wife has had asthma for 4-5 years. She takes the blue pump and purple one and is usually pretty good. However, shes now 20 weeks pregnant and has been getting worse over the past two months (which apparently can happen with pregnancy).

To say the NHS have been clueless with this is the understatement of the century. Multiple visits to GP, referred to consultant who said he didnt need to see her, two trips to A&E, two trips to Medical Assessment Unit at hospital (sent by GP). One broken rib also due to coughing.

Each time clueless. No idea what to do because shes pregnant.

She did take prednisalone a few weeks ago (took for 14 days) and there was some improvement but a week after stopping it all came back. Apparently, you can't take it for too long if your pregnant.

Anyway, she was admitted yesterday and is currently on nebuliser. I still get the impression that they've got no idea at all what they're doing at the hospital.

Hopefully, a chest consultant will see her tomorrow, or failing that I've got a private appointment for monday for her. (Awful that its going to cost me money to pay for healthcare when the NHS that I've paid taxed for all my life can't cope!).

Anyone been in similar situation and know what the next step in treatment might be? Seems to be the only way to get anything done is to suggest it yourself....

17 Replies

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  • Hi

    My asthma was the worst it's been when I was during my second pregnancy with my son, and strangely was best its ever been when pregnant with my daughter. I have had asthma since I was 11 years old but never had been even to hospital with it until I was pregnant with my son. I used to have a brown inhaler and the blue one, but this didnt control my asthma so they changed me to the seretide 250 and I continued taking this from about 13 weeks onwards. Even once on this i was in A&E a couple of times. When I got to about 25 weeks pregnant the inhaler seemed to control my symptoms and I didn't really suffer too badly after that and any minor difficulties were controlled with the ventolin. But I have to admit I stopped working and took it easy so this may have also contributed.

    Can you not ask to see the consultant sooner? Or at least have someone explain to you what their plan is?

    Hope you can get some answers soon.

    Jenny

  • Hi

    My asthma was the worst it's been when I was during my second pregnancy with my son, and strangely was best its ever been when pregnant with my daughter. I have had asthma since I was 11 years old but never had been even to hospital with it until I was pregnant with my son. I used to have a brown inhaler and the blue one, but this didnt control my asthma so they changed me to the seretide 250 and I continued taking this from about 13 weeks onwards. Even once on this i was in A&E a couple of times. When I got to about 25 weeks pregnant the inhaler seemed to control my symptoms and I didn't really suffer too badly after that and any minor difficulties were controlled with the ventolin. But I have to admit I stopped working and took it easy so this may have also contributed.

    Can you not ask to see the consultant sooner? Or at least have someone explain to you what their plan is?

    Hope you can get some answers soon.

    Jenny

    She still in hospital at the moment. Hoping to get to see a consultant on monday. Not definite because things move slowly.

    Shes also waiting for a CT scan just in case to rule out PE.

    Dont want to rant but its no wonder the NHS is in such a state. Shes been in since Wednesday and they still haven't sorted out a consultant - shes had to stay in over the weekend just to keep her bed. That was after 2 days on a trolley not a bed, in mixed ward, and the bloke in the next bay having to be handcuffed by police because he was violent!

    Theres people sitting on trolleys in the corridor who need that bed but shes still there because no-one can sort out a doctor to come and sort something out. Appalling.

  • <removed - duplicate posts are not allowed on this forum>

  • Hi

    Just putting it out there but do you have any mould in your home, even a little can make you sick.

    My daughter has terrible asthma and we have just discovered this the hard way. My husband know has a long term respiratory condition.

    So much so we have left our own home and are now in temp accommodation with no personal items for fear of contamination. It's often the toxins that the mould produces that cause the issue , these are invisible, and not just the black stuff you see.

    The specialist that alerted our attention to mould and its detrimental effect is trying to start a campaign to call for government action.

    Read the world heath organisation on damp and mould, free online, World Health DOc

    Then if you agree vote for the campaign to be taken seriously

    38degrees.uservoice.com/for...

    All the best

    Hmmm. Dunno. Wife is always mentioning this. How do you find out?

  • My asthma worsened with both my pregnancies.

    This was partly because i decided to stop one of my drugs as it is still fairly new in the medicine term of new and I wasn't happy with the lack of research of use during pregnancy.

    I had a lot of admissions during my pregnancies and was on constant steriods through both, IV drugs plus nebulisers daily and high doses of inhalers and a few courses of anti-biotcs.

    I was always told that having out of control asthma and life threatening attacks was of more risk to the unborn baby than having the drugs to keep me well.

    Both my girls were born prem at 34 and 36 weeks and were on the small side but were ok interms of effects from any drugs I took.

    I did always get an ultra sound scan to make sure O2 levels were ok to my baby etc.

    I am lucky that I felt I was very looked after but then I have been under hospital care since I was a child.

    Please tell you wife not to worry (difficult I know)but stress can trigger asthma too.

    I really hope she gets to see the consultant and gets support for the rest of her pregnancy.

    If you have anymore questions I will always try and help.

    Take care and get well wishes to your wife x

  • My asthma worsened with both my pregnancies.

    This was partly because i decided to stop one of my drugs as it is still fairly new in the medicine term of new and I wasn't happy with the lack of research of use during pregnancy.

    I had a lot of admissions during my pregnancies and was on constant steriods through both, IV drugs plus nebulisers daily and high doses of inhalers and a few courses of anti-biotcs.

    I was always told that having out of control asthma and life threatening attacks was of more risk to the unborn baby than having the drugs to keep me well.

    Both my girls were born prem at 34 and 36 weeks and were on the small side but were ok interms of effects from any drugs I took.

    I did always get an ultra sound scan to make sure O2 levels were ok to my baby etc.

    I am lucky that I felt I was very looked after but then I have been under hospital care since I was a child.

    Please tell you wife not to worry (difficult I know)but stress can trigger asthma too.

    I really hope she gets to see the consultant and gets support for the rest of her pregnancy.

    If you have anymore questions I will always try and help.

    Take care and get well wishes to your wife x

    Yes. The main problem is that they can't seem to cope with pregnant and asthma. Its as if shes the first ever pregnant woman they've seen with asthma.

    Also, with you, we're constantly having to ask them to check for effects of drugs in pregnancy. We've had doctors who just have no idea at all it seems.

    Unfortunately, wifes asthma is probably never going to be covered but my local NHS is the best advert I've ever seen for taking out private health insurance!

  • Wife has had asthma for 4-5 years. She takes the blue pump and purple one and is usually pretty good. However, shes now 20 weeks pregnant and has been getting worse over the past two months (which apparently can happen with pregnancy).

    To say the NHS have been clueless with this is the understatement of the century. Multiple visits to GP, referred to consultant who said he didnt need to see her, two trips to A&E, two trips to Medical Assessment Unit at hospital (sent by GP). One broken rib also due to coughing.

    Each time clueless. No idea what to do because shes pregnant.

    Bless you, you must be beside yourselves. I would suggest ringing the AUK line for advice (they have asthma nurses), and seeing a respiratory consultant asap. In addition, many hospitals have 'high risk pregnancy' teams for people with things like asthma and diabetes. I would imagine there is a hospital in your area which has one.

    It turns out I cant have children, but the consultant obstetrician said if I did get pregnant, I would be managed by the high risk pregnancy team alongside respiratory consultants. I wonder if this kind of joined up approach is what your wife needs?

    Fingers crossed that things improve for you both real soon

    Lynda

  • Wife has had asthma for 4-5 years. She takes the blue pump and purple one and is usually pretty good. However, shes now 20 weeks pregnant and has been getting worse over the past two months (which apparently can happen with pregnancy).

    To say the NHS have been clueless with this is the understatement of the century. Multiple visits to GP, referred to consultant who said he didnt need to see her, two trips to A&E, two trips to Medical Assessment Unit at hospital (sent by GP). One broken rib also due to coughing.

    Each time clueless. No idea what to do because shes pregnant.

    Bless you, you must be beside yourselves. I would suggest ringing the AUK line for advice (they have asthma nurses), and seeing a respiratory consultant asap. In addition, many hospitals have 'high risk pregnancy' teams for people with things like asthma and diabetes. I would imagine there is a hospital in your area which has one.

    It turns out I cant have children, but the consultant obstetrician said if I did get pregnant, I would be managed by the high risk pregnancy team alongside respiratory consultants. I wonder if this kind of joined up approach is what your wife needs?

    Fingers crossed that things improve for you both real soon

    Lynda

    Thanks Lynda. Joined up approach is not what we're getting from local NHS unfortunately....

    Chances are we will pay privately now...

  • Congratulations to you and your wife- and sorry that her asthma is causing her so much trouble.

    I'm also pregnant but have had a better time of it so far - both in terms of asthma (just 1 course of steroids and antibiotics) and care from my asthma consultant and the obstetricians.

    There are other medications they can add. Unfortunately there are some which they don't recommend you start in pregnancy like montelukast. As others have suggested could you give the helpline a ring and before your wife sees the consultant. Then you will know what questions to ask.

    I've never been told that it is bad to take prednisolone in pregnancy- prednisolone isn't very good at crossing the placenta compared to other steroids. As someone else said it is much safer for baby (and mum) if mum's asthma is controlled.

    I would expect she would get followed up by a respiratory consultant and extra appointments and scans at the maternity hospital. Also she might not get any choice about her 'plan for the birth' (just to warn you as I was a bit disappointed by this when they said it to me).

    Hope things improve soon.

    Bryony

  • Thanks all.

    Latest is they want her to have CT scan to rule out PE.

    Not ideal but I guess we've got to go there....

  • This consultant really takes the biscuit... Turned up and obviously just could not be bothered.

    Wife had CT so waiting for results of that. But consultant says its probably not PE because since shes been having blood thinner injections (since shes been in hospital) she would have felt better now if it was that. Apart from that, he says its a virus or recovery from asthma attack. Apparently, because wifes peak flow is not that bad.

    For TWO months! The guy just seemed like he could not be bothered at all. No plan going forward - completely useless.

    Spoken to Community Health Council about a complaint. They said we can insist on a meeting to discuss treatment.

    Anyone in South Wales - avoid the idiot that is Dr Flood Page at all costs!!!

    Hoping to at least get the results of CT scan now and there off to go to private doctor to see someone whos even slightly interested.

  • Wife got results. No PE. Consultant still useless and shes been sent home now.

    Same asthma meds. Although her sputum test came back postive for hymaphilia virus? So its anti-biotics time. Wondering if thats been causing her problems....

  • Wife got results. No PE. Consultant still useless and shes been sent home now.

    Same asthma meds. Although her sputum test came back postive for hymaphilia virus? So its anti-biotics time. Wondering if thats been causing her problems....

    Brilliant news that there is no PE - and to be honest, good on them for checking it out. Its quite likely that if she has cultured haemophilus that her symptoms will resolve with the appropriate antibiotic. I've had that infection several times and its wreaked havoc with my lungs, winding me up in hospital for a couple of weeks (but I have additional lung issues).

    Fingers crossed she soon feels better!

    Lynda :)

  • Wife got results. No PE. Consultant still useless and shes been sent home now.

    Same asthma meds. Although her sputum test came back postive for hymaphilia virus? So its anti-biotics time. Wondering if thats been causing her problems....

    Brilliant news that there is no PE - and to be honest, good on them for checking it out. Its quite likely that if she has cultured haemophilus that her symptoms will resolve with the appropriate antibiotic. I've had that infection several times and its wreaked havoc with my lungs, winding me up in hospital for a couple of weeks (but I have additional lung issues).

    Fingers crossed she soon feels better!

    Lynda :)

    The thing is though she had amoxycilin a few weeks ago for 7 days so it didnt sort it all out. Now shes got the same for 7 days again.

    Before january her asthma was well controlled. I suppose we had assumed it was the asthma that was getting worse because of pregnancy. Therefore, its looking increasingly possible that this infection has been untreated (or is resistant) since January and is causing the problems rather than the asthma.

    To be honest, though her peak flow is the same as before Her SATs do get a little lower when shes at her worse but not that bad (BTW - shes a nurse and has got her own SATs monitor - lol). I guess this is why they're leaving asthma medication as it is.

    Not convinced that this is the appropriate anti-biotic but private consultant has written to GP to suggest a further sputum sample and alternative anti-biotic if this doesn't work.

    Hoping it can be sorted without further hospital visits. To be honest, last visit was not great and, with the situation, I don't think being there actually does her much good.

  • Hi Paul, if they have done a culture and sensitivity, there is no reason she should be on the wrong antibiotic - it maybe wasn't taken for long enough. In my case, the minimum course of antibiotics I have for lung infection is two weeks, otherwise my infection doesn't clear up.

    If her symptoms are mostly infection based, then her peak flow may well not change much, as her symptoms may not be asthma related. Plenty of non asthmatics can seem on observation to have symptoms similar to asthma when they have a chest infection, ie short of breath and wheezy - but they aren't asthmatic, and the symptoms resolve with resolution of the infection.

    Whilst I sense your frustration, - its horrid watching and worrying about someone, it sounds like they are treating her sensibly - I wouldn't think its a good idea to increase her asthma medications without sound reasoning, when pregnant. I do hope she is feeling better soon.

    Lynda :)

  • Hi Paul, if they have done a culture and sensitivity, there is no reason she should be on the wrong antibiotic - it maybe wasn't taken for long enough. In my case, the minimum course of antibiotics I have for lung infection is two weeks, otherwise my infection doesn't clear up.

    If her symptoms are mostly infection based, then her peak flow may well not change much, as her symptoms may not be asthma related. Plenty of non asthmatics can seem on observation to have symptoms similar to asthma when they have a chest infection, ie short of breath and wheezy - but they aren't asthmatic, and the symptoms resolve with resolution of the infection.

    Whilst I sense your frustration, - its horrid watching and worrying about someone, it sounds like they are treating her sensibly - I wouldn't think its a good idea to increase her asthma medications without sound reasoning, when pregnant. I do hope she is feeling better soon.

    Lynda :)

    Thanks Lynda. The treatment so far hasnt been great which is why I question them. Shes had these antibiotics for 7 days a few weeks ago, and all they've done is given the same one again for same time.

    I see what your saying about the asthma. Hoping it is something that can be sorted now with antibiotics.

  • Hi all,

    Update on this. ABs eventually worked and she was a bit better. Not great and has been off work but no more hospital visits. At least now, shes seeing an asthma nurse, a chest consultant specialising in asthma, and now, today, a gynae consultant who knows asthma.

    Bad news is the baby is macro-somic (i.e. big!) so they're talking about C section at 36 weeks. Thinking is that breathing will become worse as baby takes up more space.

    Anyone got experience of this at all?

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