Prevalence and Burden

Australia has one of the highest prevalences of asthma worldwide (Deloitte Access Economics). In Australia, 11.2% of the population in 2017-18 had asthma, with a higher prevalence among women than men, 12.3% vs 10.2% respectively (ABS, 2015)

Australia has the highest prevalence of asthma in pregnancy worldwide, with approximately 13% of pregnancies affected (Sawicki et al. 2012). In Sweden, 9.4% of pregnancies are affected by asthma (Rejno et al. 2014), and in the United States just 5% are affected (Yland et al. 2020). In 2019, 298,567 women gave birth in Australia, so asthma affected approximately 39,000 pregnancies that year.  

During the 2018-2019 financial year in Australia, respiratory conditions among women between 20 and 44 years of age cost $419 million, 2.2% of the entire health expenditure for these women. It is unknown what the burden is for pregnant women specifically (AIHW 2018-19).

Asthma self-management skills among pregnant women are low, with three in ten having correct medication knowledge, two in ten having optimal inhaler technique and only one in ten possessing a written action plan (Robijn et al. 2019).