What kind of allergy medicine can you take while pregnant
Yes, you can get allergies while you’re pregnant, sometimes for the first time and certainly if you own a history of them.
Allergies are extremely common in pregnancy, and not every women who experience them are long-term allergy sufferers. Numerous women with no known prior allergies only complain of their symptoms during pregnancy.
Are allergies worse when you’re pregnant?
Though about a third of fortunate expectant allergy sufferers discover a temporary respite from their symptoms during pregnancy, another third discover their symptoms get worse, while a final third discover their symptoms stay about the same.
How to safely treat allergies during pregnancy
While it would be best to avoid allergens that annoy you, that’s not always a possibility.
Numerous pregnant women and their providers prefer to start with a non-pharmaceutical treatment plan whenever possible.
Dr. Janelle Luk, medical director and co-founder of Generation Next Fertility in New York City, suggests an over-the-counter saline nasal spray.
Dr. Luk also recommends physical activity to reduce nasal inflammation. In addition, she says patients with a stuffy nose might be capable to sleep better if they elevate the head of the bed by 30 to 45 degrees during sleep.
However, sometimes those non-pharmaceutical options just don’t do the trick, and you need something stronger (aka allergy medicine) to ease your distress.
In that case, there are several options that are safe to try.
“For moderate to severe allergies, your physician may recommend a nonprescription corticosteroid spray or an oral antihistamine,” Dr.
Luk says. “Some nasal spray options include Rhinocort Allergy, Flonase, and Nasonex.”
For oral antihistamines, Staunton says she recommends Claritin (loratadine) or Zyrtec (cetirizine) because of their excellent safety history. Both are rated pregnancy category B by the FDA.
This means that controlled studies in animals own shown no adverse effects to the developing fetus.
Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is considered fairly safe during pregnancy, according to the CDC. However, Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion is not safe for pregnant women because it contains phenylephrine.
You can also take one of the oral antihistamines together with a nasal spray if neither one controls your symptoms on its own.
As for subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy (SCIT), aka allergy shots—if you were on them before pregnancy, your doctor may continue them.
But they wouldn’t be started during pregnancy because of “the potential harm that could result if a reaction were to occur,” Staunton says.
If you are suffering from allergy symptoms, speak with your provider about your best options for allergy medicine while pregnant.
If sneezing, sniffling and itchy eyes began plaguing you for the extremely first time during pregnancy, you may be wondering whether having a baby bump triggered seasonal allergies.
If you are a known allergy sufferer, you’re probably wondering if and how your pregnancy might affect your symptoms.
For one, pregnancy-related nasal congestion, not allergies, could be behind every the sneezes and stuffiness. But how can you tell the difference? Here’s what you need to know about allergies during pregnancy, including what medications are safe to take while you’re expecting.
Antihistamine tablets (oral antihistamines)
Antihistamine tablets can assist relieve itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing, but not every types are suitable to take during pregnancy, so always check with a GP beforehand.
Pharmacists are unlikely to sell antihistamines without a prescription for use in pregnancy because of manufacturers’ restrictions.
If you cannot use nasal sprays or eyedrops or they do not work for you, a GP may recommend an antihistamine tablet that does not cause drowsiness, such as:
- loratadine – this is generally the first choice for pregnant women because of the quantity of safety data available for it
- cetirizine – if loratadine is not suitable or does not work for you, a GP may recommend cetirizine, another antihistamine tablet that does not cause drowsiness
Chlorphenamine is also considered one of the safer antihistamines to take during pregnancy, but because it can cause drowsiness, loratadine and cetirizine are generally the preferred options.
For information about taking specific medicines in pregnancy, see the bumps (best use of medicines in pregnancy) website.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In fact, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.
What’s more, pregnancy can sometimes make allergy symptoms worse. Every woman’s body is diverse, and every pregnancy is diverse, so it’s impossible to predict exactly how allergies will affect an individual pregnant woman.
But in general, pregnant women may experience some of the following symptoms differently from other allergy sufferers:
- This enhanced congestion makes seasonal allergy symptoms worse.
- Pregnancy hormones might cause the inner lining of your nose to swell.
This causes nasal congestion and a runny nose.
- Severe congestion could lead to poor stress and poor sleep quality.
If you’re expecting and suffering from symptoms love these, here’s what you need to know about taking allergy medicine while pregnant.
How will my allergies affect my pregnancy and baby?
If you own allergies, you can definitely own a safe, healthy pregnancy. In fact, your baby likely won’t notice a thing in there, even if you’re feeling beautiful lousy.
Tell your doctor about your symptoms, and always check before using any medication — even those you were regularly taking before conceiving (some are considered safe during pregnancy, while others won’t get the green light).
Also attempt as best as you can to steer clear of known allergy triggers when possible (tricky, yes, especially when the culprit is pollen or grass at the height of allergy season).
Avoid certain allergy medicine while pregnant
There are a number of medications that are not safe to take during pregnancy. First among them are oral decongestants.
“Oral decongestants are best avoided altogether during the first trimester because of an uncertain risk of several rare birth defects,” says Ciara Staunton, a family nurse practitioner and owner of Staunton Primary Care in Cincinnati.
“However, Sudafed (pseudoephedrine), which is locked up behind the pharmacy counter, can be used in the second and third trimesters in women without hypertension.”
But Staunton warns that Sudafed-PE (phenylephrine), the over-the-counter option, should never be taken during pregnancy. It is less effective than pseudoephedrine. But more importantly, its safety for pregnant women is questionable.
Staunton also recommends against using any herbal therapies during pregnancy. “In the United States and most other countries, herbal medicines are minimally regulated and not monitored for adverse events.”
Get advice first
Although you can purchase numerous hay fever medicines over the counter, it’s best to get advice from a pharmacist or GP before taking any medicine when you’re pregnant.
They’ll assess your symptoms and the benefits of taking a medicine against the risk of any side effects.
To ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high, it helps to:
- stay indoors whenever possible
- wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
- keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
If you decide to take hay fever medicine, you’ll generally be advised to attempt a nasal spray or eyedrops first.