Unfortunately, pregnant women can be vulnerable to catching bronchitis. While being diagnosed with this irritating illness at any point in your pregnancy is alarming, the good news is that you can treat bronchitis and prevent further occurrences from happening.
What Causes Bronchitis Among Pregnant Women?
The main causes of bronchitis among pregnant women include viral or bacterial infections and exposure to irritants in the workplace or immediate environment. Some of the known viruses, bacteria strains or irritants that can trigger bronchitis include:1,2
|Rhinovirus||Mycoplasma pneumoniae||Cigarette or tobacco smoke|
|Influenza A and B||Haemophilus influenza||Chemical fumes|
|Parainfluenza virus||Moraxella catarrhalis||Dust particles|
Common Symptoms of Bronchitis in Pregnant Women
If you are pregnant and experience any of these indicators, you should consult with your physician or gynecologist to confirm if you have bronchitis:3,4
✓ Sore throat
✓ Dry cough
✓ Gradual rise in temperature
✓ Chest pain
✓ Coughing up of blood
✓ Fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius)
✓ Experiencing shortness of breath that does not heal even with adequate rest
✓ Drowsiness, weakness, irritability and fatigue
✓ Loss of appetite
These Harmful Complications Might Occur If You Don’t Treat the Condition ASAP
Having a potential case of bronchitis treated as soon as possible is vital. There are certain complications that could arise and negatively affect your and your child’s health if not acted upon immediately.
Pregnant women who have bronchitis may experience breathing difficulties. The disease results in ineffective oxygen intake into the lungs since the bronchial walls have been inflamed. Because of this, the oxygen in your body is depleted, making you breathe lesser than the optimal required levels and lowering the necessary oxygen supply sent to the baby.5
Appetite loss typically occurs among all types of people when they are sick, pregnant women included. Unfortunately, this could be detrimental to the baby’s growth and overall health, since eating less decreases the amount of nutrients that the baby can get from the mother.6
Should you or someone you know breathe in fumes or smoke during pregnancy, this could not only exacerbate existing inflammation in the lungs and lead to chronic bronchitis, but also put your baby at risk of complications such as:7,8
✓ Lower birth weight:
Smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day during pregnancy slashes half a pound from the baby’s birth weight. If a woman smokes two packs a day, the baby’s birth weight is decreased by 1 pound or more.
✓ Underdeveloped lungs and breathing problems:
Babies born to mothers who smoke may have bodies that are underdeveloped during pregnancy, which affects their lungs and other organs.
Babies may require respirator use for days or weeks to help them breathe properly and ensure optimal lung function.
Plus, even if they are able to breathe on their own, a child can still experience breathing problems.
✓ Higher risk for asthma or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
✓ Heart defects:
A baby is more likely to have a heart defect at birth if the mother smoked during the first trimester of pregnancy.
✓ Impaired brain function:
It’s said that learning disorders, behavioral problems and a relatively low IQ may be present among babies whose mothers smoked while pregnant.
✓ Placental abruption:
Severe cases of a respiratory disease like bronchitis is associated with placental abruption, or the separation of the placenta from the uterus prior to delivery. Smoking during pregnancy is a known risk factor of this condition.9
Bronchitis during pregnancy could also swiftly progress to a severe respiratory disease like pneumonia or cause a low-grade fever to occur along with the disease. Either way, these sicknesses, especially if they reach high temperatures, could be bad for the baby’s health.10 Should you become affected with pneumonia during pregnancy, there is a higher risk for preterm birth, serious maternal complications such as respiratory failure and low birth weight for the baby.11
Dehydration may also occur because the mother is not taking enough fluids, which could lead to contractions that can cause preterm labor. A higher risk for complications like spina bifida (a birth defect wherein a baby’s spine is not formed normally12) or even death may also result because of bronchitis.13