For most women with bronchitis during pregnancy, serious complications are unlikely to develop. Among the risks of bronchitis in pregnant women are changes in oxygen intake and the use of medications capable of harming a developing child. A woman may also develop complications of bronchitis, such as pneumonia. Such complications may make it more difficult for her to breath, require her to take potent medications, or expose her developing baby to fever. Appetite loss and failure to consume enough liquids are also potential risks of bronchitis, as they may result in a lack of important nutrients for the baby or dehydration of the mother.
One major risk of bronchitis during pregnancy is difficulty breathing. When a pregnant woman's breathing is less than optimal, her developing baby may be at risk. In most cases, however, a mild case of bronchitis that is not complicated by other illnesses won’t have a lasting effect on a pregnancy. If a woman does develop a complication of bronchitis while she is pregnant, prompt treatment may help her to avoid harm to her baby.
Medication risks are also a concern when a woman has bronchitis in pregnant women. Antibiotics and other potent drugs are normally used when treatment is necessary for bronchitis, but these drugs can be harmful for a developing baby. Instead, doctors usually recommend rest and self-care measures for treating bronchitis during pregnancy in lieu of a potentially dangerous course of antibiotics. When these measures fail, however, or bronchitis seems to be worsening, a doctor usually recommends medications believed to be safe during pregnancy. As with all types of medications, however, it is difficult to predict whether or not a medication will be 100-percent safe for use in every pregnancy.
In most cases, bronchitis is accompanied by a low-grade fever rather than a high fever that could be more dangerous for a developing baby. When a high temperature does develop, however, a developing baby may be more at risk. A high fever is more likely to develop when an individual has a severe case of pneumonia or when a pregnant woman develops complications of pneumonia. Additionally, she may need more potent medications, which represent more risk for her baby.
Appetite loss is another risk of bronchitis during pregnancy. When a woman is suffering from symptoms of bronchitis, she may have less appetite than normal. If she eats less, her baby may not get the nutrients he needs. In such a case, the overall health and development of the baby may be at risk. Additionally, if a woman has a fever and fails to drink enough liquids, she may become dehydrated. This may lead to contractions that could cause preterm labor.