Mercy’s Drs. Robert Atlas And Albert Polito Discuss Treating Asthma During Pregnancy

December 2, 2013
Dr. Robert Atlas

Dr. Robert Atlas, OB/GYN, Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy

Asthma is a common condition, but for pregnant women with chronic asthma, there can be serious consequences for the baby.

"We see a ton of women with asthma," said Dr. Robert Atlas, OB/GYN, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Medical Center. According to Dr. Atlas, women with chronic asthma are at an increased risk of complications with the baby.

The problems can include diseases of the nervous system and respiratory system.

"Women who have chronic asthma -- people who are on multiple medications -- those are people we worry most about for fetal growth and other abnormalities. Those are the ones who are most at risk for complications with pregnancy," Dr. Atlas said.

Keonna Price is pregnant with her first child. She is also severely asthmatic and uses her inhaler to quell attacks multiple times a day.

"Sometimes about six times a day, and that's just my regular. I have them a lot," she said. "That is a concern, especially with me taking so many different medications and not knowing what's safe for the baby and what's not."

Dr. Albert J. PolitoMercy Medical Center pulmonologist Dr. Albert Polito, Director, The Lung Center at Mercy, noted that asthmatic mothers-to-be should know that the benefits of the medication typically outweigh any risk.

"Asthmatics can have low oxygen levels that can damage the baby in utero. It has been shown time and time again in many, many studies that the benefits of the medications we use to control asthma and keep it from flaring up during the pregnancy far outweigh any risk associated with the medications," Dr. Polito said.

Price is taking that advice. Her baby girl is due to arrive in January, and she knows keeping her asthma in check is a priority for a healthy delivery.

View WBAL’s interviews with Mercy’s  Drs. Albert Polito and Robert Atlas regarding asthma and pregnancy.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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