Pregancy/COPD

Hello,

I was diagnosed with very mild COPD a year ago. I am 37 years old. My doctor says I am able to have children (my husband and I have none). I've been fearful of moving forward with this due to my disgnosis. I've been told I will not get worse since I stopped smoking a year ago the day I was diagnosed. I do have symptoms of breathlessness and mild wheezing and fatigue. I do not want to bring a child into the world if I'm unable to care for it in a few years because I've gotten a chest infection and am now in decline with COPD. Any thoughts on this from any of you good people out there? I've not come across another women my age with COPD that wants to get pregnant or has been pregnant with this disease. Thank you in advance for any thoughts.

47 Replies

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  • Hi I left a reply before I checked your other posts, then changed it. You got a lot of replies to those reassuring you that with very mild copd you will live a healthy life for many years. If your doctor says go ahead and have children then do. You do NOT have just a few years to live nor are you going to decline noticably in that time but I am not sure how to convince you of that when others have tried in the past.

    Have you talked to BLF yet? Or had their bumph? (I presume you are in the UK) It sounds like you need more knowledge of your copd.

    Do not let the fear of this illness rule you - live your life to the full and enjoy it. x

  • Thank you coughalot. I appreciate your reassuring words. Yes my fear does get the better of me because I know from research that this is a very unpredictable disease. And once a child is here, they are here to stay. So I'm just getting as much information as possible before I move forward. Thank you again for your reply. I agree with everything you stated.

  • Ah I disagree there suzipete copd is fairly predictable, at your stage especially. I have been on this site for quite a long time and on another couple and I have never heard of anyone going from mild to severe in a matter of a few short years. It doesn't work like that. You will almost certainly remain in the 70's for lung function for a number of years as long as you adopt a healthy lifestyle. You might even increase your lung function a bit.

    I don't know where you have done your research but stick to recognised sites like this one otherwise you will scare yourself silly. There is a lot of misleading information and scare stories on google! x

  • Thank you and yes absolutely. There are many horrid sites out there predicting awful things! Thank you for your encouraging words.

  • I was diagnosed with mild COPD last March.

    I can relate to your situation as I have a 2 year old son and another due next April.

    You got to keep positive and don't let it dictate your future.

    5 years is not enough time in my view, so my choice in having another baby is going to keep me going well after what the 'experts' predict.

  • Congratulations on your baby that's due in April, Jeremy! How wonderful! I go through good times where I do not worry and then bad times where I do. I just want to be a functioning Mother with energy for a child, and not chasing around a five year old while carrying an oxygen tank. I've been told no further damage will be done since I stopped the smoking the day I found out about this horrible thing. I do hope that is true. Your reply does encourage me. Thank you for your words.

  • Hi Suzipete, I agree with all Coughalot’s comments. I would also advise phoning the helpline tomorrow. They are professionals in this field and I'm sure they'll be very knowledgeable about COPD and pregnancy, and can hopefully put your mind at rest.

    A COPD diagnosis is frightening I know, especially as you are so young, but on the positive side, because of it, your health is now being regularly monitored and you’ll be given the best medication. I’ve had asthma since childhood, but had 3 children, now grown up, and coped with the breathlessness when it happened. Diagnosis and treatment is so much better now than it was 35 years ago. You will be well looked after.

    My own opinion is that if your doctor says having children is okay for you and your condition, then go for it! He says it won’t get worse as you’ve given up smoking (brilliant!) and I’m sure he’s right. Naturally you are anxious but that won’t be helping your symptoms. Relax, keep fit, exercise as much as you can – follow all the advice about staying healthy. They say kids keep you young – they also keep you fit!

    The very best of luck, Jan :-)

  • Thank you very much for your encouraging words Jan! I do need to work on exercising more and being more positive! Thank you for your thoughts!

  • Oooo yes have a baby or two Suzipete as coughalot says if you keep a healthy life style diet and exerscise you are very likely to reverse or stop it where it is now,The joy of having a baby will make you stronger and more determined to keep well and will keep you so busy you wont have time to think about how your lungs might be.You've stopped the smokes happy days Suzipete.Be positive see the good things in life its pretty great you know.There are many decades to enjoy sharing with a lovely young family,this time next year you could have a beautiful baby smiling at the colours of christmas what joy. Blessings to you :) Janexx

  • Thank you so much Jane! yes, I do think it would be nice to be so busy I could let go of my concerns and not sit and fret about them all day! Thank you for your encouraging words!

  • What's happening in your head is ten times worse than the condition itself - Please read my posts - I went through a phase where I was dying in my thoughts every day (Yet I was diagnosed as mild) - then I realized what the people say on this site is true. If you keep on with a healthy life style you will probably become a great granny. Don't look at Goliath - ONE SMALL STONE WILL KILL HIM - the stone is your love for your new baby - have your baby live your life.

  • I love your reply Pietba! I especially like your analogy in regards to Goliath and one small stone! That really put it into perspective for me. Thank you so much for your encouraging words!

  • You need to understand why you have mild COPD at 37? Is it emphysema? If so, you will presumably be putting it down to smoking? Your GP happy to let you think that, but it's unfortunately unlikely. If any of this rings true, you need to get tested for Alpha 1 Antitrypsin deficiency. If you have this, you need to know, particularly if you are planning a family. It doesn't mean you shouldn't have children, it just means you need to manage your illness. If you do have A1AD then your partner also needs to be tested as it is hereditary and you could pass on a severe deficiency if you are both partially deficient. I am severely deficient and have lived with it for more than 20 years. I have two grown up children and I am now in my 50s. Please have the test. It's quick and easy, just a blood test, but knowledge is power in your position.

  • Thank you for the info Alblownout! Yes I have been tested and it was negative. Its been puzzling to me because I never smoked as much as some people I know yet I have this at 37 years old. The doctor has not stated if it's emphysema or bronchitis.

    Thank you again for your informative reply!

  • That's actually very good news. You now need to quiz the GP as most COPD is Emphysema. If it is, and really has been caused by smoking, then as long as you have stopped smoking it really won't normally get any worse. You will go on to live a full and normal life. Everyone's breathing deteriorates as they age, yours will too, but not noticeably worse than others. I hope that will be the case and wish you all the best. If you haven't yet stopped smoking, take if from an A1AD victim, stopping smoking is easier than any of the other outcomes. Good luck.

  • Oh yes! I quit smoking the very day I was diagnosed out of pure fear! I feel much better for it!

    I can't thank you enough for your wisdom and thoughts!

  • Hi suzipete I hope you have been comforted by the other posters as well as myself. At this stage you don't really need to know whether it is chronic bronchitis or emphysema as the treatment is the same and you might find the doctors won't tell you anyway - mine won't. Most people have primarily cb or emp with but with some of the other anyway.

    We all know someone who has lived to 100 and smoked and drank all their lives without any ill effects but most of us aren't like that. About 1 in 4/5 smokers will get copd and some people are more sensitive to lung damage than others. I am glad you have had the test for alpha 1 as you are young to be diagnosed with copd. Alpha 1 is rare but there are a few folk on here with it.

    I have been a 2 pack a day smoker for 40 odd years so count myself lucky to have got away with it for so long, when others like you haven't. It's just the luck of the draw.

    I too want to see you with a baby next Christmas :) x

  • Thank you Coughalot! You are exactly right, the doctor would not tell me which I had yet. You seem so knowledgeable on COPD and I thank you for sharing that knowledge with me. everyone has been so supportive and nice. I'm very grateful.

  • Most doctors won't tell you unless you've had a CT scan because this is needed to make a proper diagnosis and they aren't cheap, so only performed when absolutely necessary.

  • :) Most of what I know I learnt on here... x

  • I am not sure this will help, but speaking from experience, I was diagnosed at 16, I had a lobectomy of the left lung at 18, and went on to have 3 happy healthy children, who are now all in their 30's. I have now gone onto moderate COPD from the original diagnosis of very mild but it has taken me 47 years. Every one is different and the help from this site will, I am sure, give you some reassurance, always check with your GP and good luck for a long happy healthy life.

  • Yes that helps a great deal Sukee. I am so glad you were blessed with three children even with your condition. Thank you very much for your reply.

  • I was just going to put go for it! But with all the sound advice from this great bunch you must!! Xx

  • Thank you! I'm so grateful to you all for your comments and wisdom.

  • Hi Suzipete, we never know what life has in store for us-nobody does copd or not. So, go ahead live life and enjoy. You have been told you will be fine, your lung function has remained stable over the past year and remains stable- run with that. I wish you love, life and happiness for a long long time xxxx

  • Thank you JenS. Great advice!

  • Go girl go..........how lovely to be able to complete your family.

    To have a little one is a wonderful experience.........yes its hard work at times, but at your age that should not be a problem.

    Listen to your Doctor. ......he's seen so much in his career, that if he says its OK why think otherwise.

    You have the rest life ahead of you......so go and enjoy.

    J.

  • Thank you! I feel much better about it because of all you good people on this site.

  • suzipete, I am a man, so don't know about pregnancy. What I know about COPD is I have bronchiectasis, a form of COPD. I had it since 1994. Yes, I had many infections, and many hospital stays. I believe that exercise, whichever form it takes, will maintain your body and lungs. it might even improve your lungs. Briefly, i was on oxygen in 2010 with TB and pneumonia. Within a month at the gym, i was off the oxygen. I still go regularly at the gym and feel fine (no TB after 2 1/2 years of drugs, no pneumonia, that was easy to treat!).

    Now, there are numerous exercises and I think you should explore exercises for COPD. You could explore Chinese Qigung, which is the medical martial arts (gentle, that is) I do one series called the 8 pieces of brocade - brocade being silk is supple, yet sturdy, which is the aim of the exercises, coupling it with the all important breathing.

    I've just read that there is something call the hundred up, which are running exercises at home - on the spot.

    But the benefit of exercise is not only to maintain your health, but to give you confidence. If you wanted a child, I wouldn't delay too much at 37. You have the option to maintain your health, so you can explore with your conscience and your hubby the pros and cons of a baby. Of course, (as my mum testified) a growing baby demands a lot of your energy and your life. It's also the most miraculous event in your life.

    (my wife and I decided not to have children on account of her and my disability. where both of us were disabled - she with bipolar with schizo-affective disorder; me with bronchiectasis, we thought it wouldn't be fair on a child. I miss one, to tell you the truth, even as a man!) Your quest is a serious and complex one. You best bet is to gather lots of information about your condition and your circumstances. Somehow, don't forget there's one big part in this, it is love! that may rule over all. Be wise! Ask a lot of questions. Best wishes. Mic

  • Mic what a lovley reply. Thank you so much for sharing with me and for the sound advice. I think I might miss it too if I didn't try to have one. I just want to be sure I could care for it properly. Thank you so much again.

  • Hello lovely, I have read your post and would like you to know about my husband. He was diagnosed with COPD at the age of 53 ish (now 67) - he is now severe. What does that mean? - he goes a lots slower than everyone else! He uses oxygen sometimes for walking. BUT we have a great quality of life! My youngest daughter was a baby when he was diagnosed - she keeps us young! My advise - you just dont know whats round the corner - live your life, you dont want to get to a grand old age and wonder "what if"! The baby will keep you fit - you may not have to worry about exercise running around after a little one!!!

    The very best of luck, enjoy your life xxxx

  • Thank you so much for your reply! You are so right. I do not want to wonder "what if". I so appreciate everyone's comments and sound advice on here. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  • Stop worrying about the future and let it unfold as it will and bring many good things into your life

    Hopefully baby will bring much joy and there will be people to help if and when you are poorly x

  • Sound advice. Thank you very much!

  • Remember it is not that you have got COPD early - it is that your COPD has been found and diagnosed early - there is a big difference. Most of us diagnosed in our 50's or 60's etc already had CODP in our thirties - we just didn't know we had it and so in many cases continued to smoke ... and have our children. Example - I was diagnosed with severe COPD (and alpha1) in my fifties but certainly it would have been starting when I had my eldest son in my 20's - and by the time I had my daughter at 40 I must already have been well into in the moderate-severe range - but still didn't know it. My youngest daughter is now at uni. You should be fine - if you do not smoke there is no reason why you should not live a normal life span and enjoy your 'prospective' offspring well into their adulthood!

  • Thank you so much for your reply Parvati! I have never even considered the point of view that I was diagnosed early and not that I caught it early. I've not considered that some of you probably had it in your thirties too. That puts a lot of things into perspective for me. Thank you so much for your sound advice and thoughts!

  • I have a daughter she was born before I was diagnosed the biggest problem I could see was the labour I understand your fear of not being able to look after the baby with chest infection.

    I don't understand why your GP has told you it wont get worse now you have given up smoking.

  • It's just a personal fear I have. I've read stories where people suddenly go from mild to severe without any explanation. But yes GP stated if I never touch another cig again I should be fine! Thank you for your reply!

  • I understand your fear and I admire you for considering having a child if you exercise and eat healthy you will be ok I stayed at the same level for the first 3 years of being diagnosed then I got the flu.

    I hope all goes well for you what ever you decide

  • Thank you very much for your replies. I hope you are feeling well and taking care.

  • Hi oh dear! I don't want to up-set you I was told I had a mild COPD four and a half years ago have given the cigarettes away then and my COPD is at a severe stage now and I am waiting for a new lung. If it was me I would not attempt to have a family as I would no be able to manage a baby as I am on oxygen 24/7 and wheel chair bound. This might not happen to you but if it did its not fair on your loved ones having to look after you and your baby as you would not be able to do the normal duties that go with having a baby.

    I would enjoy the life you have with your husband and treasure every moment you have to-gether.

    Regards Gallmoe.

  • I am very sorry to hear that gallmoe. I have never heard of anyone with 'just'copd going from mild to severe in such a short time? Do you have any other illnesses especially respiratory ones which might account for it? Have you been tested for Alpha 1? x

  • sorry gallimore for what you went threw. i went for 20 years at mild to severe and keep smoking. i am at severe now and on 5 year aver. i am 53 now but i knew my lungs were bad back when i was 20 a doctor made the mistake of telling me if i quit there and then at 65 i would still have smokers lungs. after i went from mild to sevete at that time i knew by a specialist i would not live old. he guessed in the 60 and i think he was right. stop worring your life away and go for your dreams always, if it is meant to be it will be. just keep in shape dont smoke and breathe using that diaphram. sorry for spelling. so keep dreaming and have fun trying. let us know when ya do. I would check with you gp more on what risk if any with your age. dont get me wrong i had an aunt going threw menopause or so she and her dr thought. dr thought she had a tumor. ended up being a very large baby. we still call him tumor.

  • Ha! I love it tinamg! I felt like something changed in my lungs in my mid twenties. The doctor told me I had anxiety. I now know it was COPD. Glad to have it confirmed so now I can be proactive about it. I always knew something was not right.

    Hope you are keeping well. Thank you for your reply!

  • Hi Suzipete

    I was very interested in the question you asked and also the replies that you received. I like you am young 35 with Moderate Emph and Brochn so I am truly blessed :). I have had this discussion with my wife over the last few weeks and I think whilst we cannot predict our health in the future we are trying to do everything to maintain it. So whilst we may struggle in later life why should we miss out on things just because of our illness. I like what Parvati has written that maybe we have just been diagnosed earlier than the other folk and they have lived with an undiagonsed condition for so long. With meds and excersise we can at least try and slow the progression and whilst there is an element of luck involved, I think we should just carry on and enjoy life what other choice do we have. Sink or Swim, I intend to swim as far as I can.

    Good Luck, I really mean that.

    Justin

  • I love your positive attitude Justin. I need to be more like you. I have a very difficult time not knowing what the future will bring. But I guess it would even be that way without COPD.

    Thank you for your reply. Hope you are staying well!

  • Hi there, I just found this blog.. Too late though. I've a similar situation. I was diagnosed with moderate copd back in 2009 while being treated for Tb. I've never smoked. Doctors claim that I was born with it. I've emph and bron as well. Shared my stay between hospitals and home throughout. However since I moved to a drier and unpolluted country haven't had an exacerbation or need for hospitalisations. I'm off my inhalers, antibiotics, nubuliser, steroids etc for a good whole year. Fatigue doesn't bother me anymore. More active than before. I know my lung conditions are irreversible but I see an improvement in my immunity(sorry TMI). Now the question is I've been married for 10 years now and I'm 29. My Fallopian tubes are blocked due to long term undiagnosed tuberculosis. I'm soon planning for my second ivf treatment(no success in first). Just don't know what to do. I am a happy go person. But this ailment drags me in the quicksand of depression. Any advice for me? I'd appreciate. Thanks.

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