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Asthma in Pregnancy Toolkit pilot to start in Canberra

Dec 1 2022

A world first Asthma and Pregnancy toolkit designed to improve the health of pregnant women and their babies will be rolled out across the ACT. 

Developed by HMRI and University of Newcastle researchers, the toolkit is designed to ensure that health care professionals have access to the most up to date evidence-based treatments for pregnant women. 

Around 13% of pregnant Australian women have asthma, and up to 50% of these women will need to seek medical help for an asthma flare-up during pregnancy.  

Beyond the risk asthma flare-ups pose to the health of the mother, poorly managed asthma can also have health impacts for the unborn child – including a higher risk of developing asthma themselves.  

Associate Professor Vanessa Murphy from the HMRI Asthma and Breathing Research Program says HMRI is a world leader in Asthma research with over 20 years of discoveries in this field. 


“We worked with over 50 experts from around the world and created the Asthma in Pregnancy toolkit to bring all the evidence-based information together in one place,” said Associate Professor Murphy.  


“The toolkit is an easily accessed, accurate reference tool for health professionals involved in pregnancy care, including GPs, midwives and obstetricians. There are also resources available for families.” 

A pilot health promotion program aligning with the Toolkit will roll out in Canberra in 2023 featuring a public awareness campaign and community workshops for health professionals. This program is funded as part of the ACT Health Promotions Grant Program and will be conducted in partnership with Asthma Australia. 

Associate Professor Murphy says that some women stop taking Asthma prevention medication due to concerns that it might harm their unborn child. 

“The truth is there is a greater risk to the baby if the mum stops taking their medication,” said Associate Professor Murphy.  

“Our research shows that asthma medications are safe during pregnancy but asthma flare-ups can be very dangerous.”  

The Asthma in Pregnancy Toolkit was developed in partnership with the University of Newcastle’s Centre of Excellence in Treatable Traits and will launch online on Thursday December 1, 2022. View the Asthma and Pregnancy Toolkit here.

To attend the virtual launch event at 5.30pm, please click here.

The Toolkit was supported by funds from the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundations.