Is preterm birth associated with asthma among children from birth to 17 years old? A study based on 2011-2012 US National Survey of Children’s Health
CLICK HERE to read article.

Preterm birth can interrupt lung development in utero and is associated with early life factors, which adversely affects the developing respiratory system


Asthma is a chronic (lifelong) disease that can be serious, sometimes even life-threatening. This chronic lung disease makes it harder to move air in and out of the lungs. Airways become swollen and inflamed and extra sensitive to things in the environment which can trigger asthma.

These triggers can be:

  • pollen
  • dust mites
  • pets
  • foods
  • smoke – cigarette and fire
  • respiratory infections
  • exercise
  • changes in weather, cold or windy conditions
  • emotional stress
  • pollution

When asthmatics experience a trigger, their airways create more mucous and swell, consequently making it difficult to breathe. Prevention by avoiding triggers is the most important part of asthma treatment.

Some symptoms of asthma are:

  • Breathlessness
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Cough, though a cough alone does not mean asthma
  • Wheezing, this is when your child’s breathing sounds like a whistle. Not all children who wheeze develop asthma

These can be symptoms of mild asthma and may go away after a few days.

Most asthma episodes are mild, however some children will suffer with severe asthma:

  • Struggling to breathe
  • Very distressed
  • Exhausted or limp
  • Deep sucking in action at their throat or chest as they struggle to breathe.

This is severe asthma and will require an ambulance. CALL 000

According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Copenhagen, babies born prematurely are more likely to develop asthma, however most will grow out of it. The study showed that as adults, those born prematurely suffer no more lung conditions than those born full term.

Children born prematurely account for a very high proportion of the small children with asthmatic symptoms, but as they grow older, the trend becomes less pronounced," says Theis Lange, an associate professor at the Section of Biostatistics at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
CLICK HERE to read article.

Asthma parent information and videos from the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne:


If your child has problems breathing, wheezing, or coughing and you are concerned that your child may have asthma, it is extremely important that your child is thoroughly examined by your GP and their medical history is considered. 

Remember to share your child’s birth story with your GP, either if born preterm or critically ill at birth. The doctor will enquire about your child’s symptoms eg, wheeze, shortness of breath, when these symptoms occur, what may trigger these symptoms and what alleviates them.

Try to keep track of suspected causes such as smoke, cold air and foods as this information will help make a diagnosis and then a treatment plan. The treatment may include medication such as an inhaler to reduce the frequency of asthma attacks as well as oral medications to reduce the symptoms.

It can be helpful to keep documentation related to your child’s medical history (discharge summaries, vaccinations, growth, medications) together especially when seeing a new GP or during a hospital admission.

Currently there is no treatment available that can completely cure asthma, though with careful management the severity of the symptoms can be reduced as well as the occurrence of attacks. With a good treatment plan and the support of your doctor, your child can play sport and lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

“This is a very valuable resource for parents of a preterm baby to help them understand the challenges which may be faced in childhood and adolescence, and how best to advocate for their child in a variety of settings.” - Professor Lex Doyle

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Disclaimer: This publication by Miracle Babies Foundation is intended solely for general education and assistance and it is it is not medical advice or a healthcare recommendation. It should not be used for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment for any individual condition. This publication has been developed by our Parent Advisory Team (all who are parents of premature and sick babies) and has been reviewed and approved by a Clinical Advisory Team. This publication is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Miracle Babies Foundation recommends that professional medical advice and services be sought out from a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your personal circumstances.To the extent permitted by law, Miracle Babies Foundation excludes and disclaims any liability of any kind (directly or indirectly arising) to any reader of this publication who acts or does not act in reliance wholly or partly on the content of this general publication. If you would like to provide any feedback on the information please email [email protected].