Westmead research breaks new ground for pregnant women with airways diseases

Mum and baby.
Jaylee is one mum who has benefited from the Westmead Hospital cystic fibrosis service – read her story here.

Women with airway diseases will have better treatment throughout pregnancy thanks to a historic collaboration between international counterparts featuring Westmead Hospital.

The inaugural task force brought together the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) to review all the literature and expert opinion concerning the management of pregnancy in women with respiratory illnesses such as asthma, cystic fibrosis (CF) and bronchiectasis.

The paper looks at all the medicines available to treat different conditions and whether they are safe or should be avoided at various stages of pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Westmead Hospital CF service director Professor Peter Middleton explained the research has become necessary thanks to modern advancements in medicine.

“The great news is that people with cystic fibrosis are now living much longer, healthier lives and are able to have families of their own,” Prof Middleton said.

“Similarly with asthma and bronchiectasis, more women are now achieving pregnancy and need care before, during and after their pregnancy.

“The challenge for clinicians is to ensure we provide the best care possible for mother and baby while managing their chronic illness. Cystic fibrosis can cause moderate to severe lung function impairment in early adulthood, which can be exacerbated by pregnancy.

“This research is an important first step in bringing together all the available data to produce guidelines to help obstetricians, respiratory physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, midwives and of course the patients themselves.”

Prof Middleton said the paper will also be a launching point for future research, including trials to answer areas where there is little current research.