If you are pregnant and have asthma you may feel uneasy about taking medications, but it is very important to keep your symptoms under control. Uncontrolled asthma symptoms can cause a decrease in the amount of oxygen in your blood supply. A developing baby needs a regular supply of oxygen for normal growth and development; if your asthma is uncontrolled during pregnancy, this can harm your baby.
During flu season, it is especially important to get a flu shot because flu is more likely to cause severe illness in women who are pregnant. Pregnant women with flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery.
Why was VAMPSS developed?
Major congenital malformations (birth defects) occur in 3-5% of all infants, and other complications such as preterm delivery and low birth weight occur in 10-15% of pregnancies. Although medications and vaccines are uncommon causes of these adverse events, they are among the most preventable. Because pregnant women are excluded from clinical trials, there is a lack of adequate safety information for most medications taken during pregnancy. The VAMPSS surveillance system aims to collect this information in a systematic fashion and help close the knowledge gap.
What does VAMPSS do?
VAMPSS is a national surveillance system designed to monitor the use and safety of vaccines and asthma medications during pregnancy, and uses two data collection approaches to get information about how vaccines and medications might affect your baby. One part of the study collects information from women while they are pregnant and up to one year after their baby is born and the other recruits certain women who have infants born with congenital malformations (birth defects) and others whose infants are born without malformations.
Who can participate in the VAMPSS study?
Women who are currently pregnant women and:
• Have asthma and currently take or have taken a long acting beta agonist (Foradil, Serevent, Advair, Dulera, Symbicort) or short acting beta agonist (e.g. albuterol) anytime in pregnancy
• Received a flu vaccine anytime during pregnancy
• Had the flu during pregnancy and took antiviral medication
• Have had none of the above exposures but might be willing to participate as an “unexposed” pregnant woman
For more information on the study and to enroll, visit the Mother To Baby website.
AAAAI Collaboration with UC San Diego and Boston University Publishes ‘Reassuring’ Data on H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Safety in Pregnancy
Drugs you take while pregnant may not be as safe as you think. Surprising answers to commonly asked questions. Consumer Reports: July 2014
FDA information on pregnancy registries