Women with asthma may have a lower pregnancy rate, and may take longer to get pregnant than those without the lung disease, suggests a new study.
The researchers followed 245 women (96 with asthma) who were undergoing fertility treatment for unresolved fertility issues.
The women were part of the study until they gave birth, stopped treatment, or the study ended. The average time for women without asthma to get pregnant was about 32 months compared to more than 55 months for those with asthma.
Approximately 60% of women without asthma became pregnant, compared with only 40% of those with asthma. According to the study published in the European Respiratory Journal, the gap between the two groups increased with age. The women in the study were ages 23-45 years old.
The trial finding adds new evidence to the possible connection between asthma and fertility. The relationship may be made more complicated, however, with different types of asthma, medications, and hormones.
The study recommended that doctors advise women with asthma to try to conceive at an earlier age, and particularly pay attention to their asthma treatment before becoming pregnant.
It appears that women can indeed reduce this delay in fertility by controlling their asthma. Researchers in a different study in 2013 found that women with asthma gave birth to the same number of children (on average) as women without asthma, but women with asthma tended to have children earlier in their life.
It’s worth noting that the study did not find a cause-and-effect relationship, but simply a connection between asthma and a delay in conception.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 12 people in the US has asthma (about 25 million). Women are more likely than men to have asthma, which makes this current study particularly important.
SOURCE: European Respiratory Journal, news release, Feb. 11, 2016