Is It Safe to Take Allergy Medicine While Pregnant?
As if you didn’t have enough on your mind.
Not only are you managing the challenging time of pregnancy (and many of the inconveniences that may accompany it), but allergy season is in full bloom. This means you can add watery eyes, sneezing, a runny nose and other symptoms to your already crowded plate.
But before you grab your regular remedy, you have to carefully determine if allergy medicine is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
While it is safe to take certain allergy medicines while pregnant, you must carefully read labels—not all over-the-counter medicines are appropriate to use.
“If you have seasonal or chronic allergies, we want to know about it so we can help you find treatment that is both safe and effective, so you can take allergy medicines while pregnant” said Dr. Carrie Miller. “We’re interested not just in your obstetrical health, but your overall physical health as well. You should use caution when taking any allergy medicine while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. We know there are a lot of allergy medicines to choose from—and it can be somewhat overwhelming—but just remember that we are here to answer any questions you have. Just call us and we’ll find a solution that is safe for both you and baby.”
But which allergy medicine is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding? We know you have questions about allergy medicine and pregnancy. We’ll tackle some of the most common concerns we receive from patients and give you advice on managing your allergies while you’re expecting.
Allergy Medicine While Pregnant
Did you know that sometimes, your allergies can transform when you are expecting? Your body simply may not respond to allergies the way it typically did before you were pregnant.
According to information from the Cleveland Clinic:
- Roughly one third of pregnant women find that their allergies are not as bad and their symptoms may actually clear up.
- Another third discover that their allergy symptoms get worse.
- The other third do not show any real difference in their allergy symptoms before and after pregnancy
We’ll take a look at some common allergy medications, allergy treatments and which ones are safe to use during pregnancy.
Over-the-Counter Medications while Pregnant
We urge you to be cautious about taking over-the-counter allergy medicines because many are NOT safe to take if you’re pregnant. You should avoid anything that contains decongestants or pseudoephedrine (Sudafed®), particularly in the first trimester.
We also do NOT recommend starting allergy shots (immunotherapy). This is because we do not know how your body will react to them, and it’s much safer to discover that when you are not pregnant.
However, Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra and Benadryl are safe to use as allergy medicine while pregnant. You should talk to us before taking allergy medicine if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed because antihistamines can slow milk production.
We always emphasize caution when taking herbal remedies. First, these remedies aren’t monitored by the FDA, and there may be a dramatic difference in potency among brands. Second, studies are still ongoing on the effects of herbal remedies on pregnant women.
However, if you are interested in trying an herbal remedy, we encourage you to discuss it with us. Sometimes there is useful scientific data from other countries that we can use to help you find an effective and safe solution.
Try Finding Relief Without Allergy Medication While Pregnant
Often, the simplest solution is to find a way to treat your allergies without medication at all. Taking the following steps may alleviate your symptoms to the point that you don’t need over-the-counter remedies:
Avoid Allergy Triggers
This means keeping windows shut to keep pollen and other allergens from coming inside. Try to avoid the source of your allergies. Limit your time outside. If pet dander is the source of your allergies, be sure that your pet is bathed regularly—and if your pet sleeps with you in the bed, you might need to reconsider and provide another place for them to snooze.
Wearing a Mask
You may want to consider wearing a mask because this can reduce your pollen exposure.
Nasal Saline Spray
You can easily find these sprays at any pharmacy. This can go a long way toward alleviating your symptoms.
Neti pots or other similar devices can help irrigate your sinuses to provide relief. However, it is VERY important to follow instructions and ensure you are using sterile water. This will keep infectious organisms out of the solution.
Use a Humidifier
While this doesn’t remove allergens, it does moisten the air. This can provide soothing relief for nasal irritation.
At Chapel Hill OBGYN, We Will Guide You Through Every Step of Your Pregnancy–Including Allergy Medicines While Pregnant
Allergies can be annoying and make day-to-day life challenging. When you’re pregnant, this only adds to the challenges.
We want you to find relief for your allergies, but we want to be sure it’s done in a way that is safe for your baby. That’s why we have a team of OBGYNS in Chapel Hill and OBGYNS in Durham ready to serve you and answer all your questions about taking allergy medicines while pregnant.
We have served generations of women, providing the convenience of a small practice with the advanced technology available at major medical centers.
See why we’ve been recognized as one of the best in the Triangle by the INDY “Best of the Triangle” awards.
Contact us to schedule an appointment.