Is It Safe To Take Allergy Medicine While Pregnant
As if you didnt have enough on your mind.
Not only are you managing the challenging time of pregnancy , 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 labelsnot 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. Were interested not just in your obstetrical health, but your overall physical health as well. You should use caution when taking any allergy medicine while youre pregnant or breastfeeding. We know there are a lot of allergy medicines to choose fromand it can be somewhat overwhelmingbut just remember that we are here to answer any questions you have. Just call us and well find a solution that is safe for both you and baby.
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What Are Some Reasons Why People Take Benadryl During Pregnancy
Benadryl is a brand name for the drug diphenhydramine . Its an antihistamine. This means that it helps calm down your immune system from overreacting to pollen, dust, cats, and other allergens.
Taking Benadryl can give you some relief from allergies, asthma, hay fever, and cold symptoms, like:
- itchy eyes, nose, or throat
This OTC medication is also used to stop or ease dizziness, nausea, and vomiting from being car or motion sick. Since it can make you drowsy, some women also use it to help with sleeplessness during pregnancy.
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Allergies Vs Nasal Congestion During Pregnancy
Expectant noses are, unfortunately, stuffy noses. Nasal congestion usually starts sometime in the second trimester, as high levels of estrogen and progesterone increase blood flow throughout your body including in your nose causing mucus membranes to swell and soften.
This can make you as stuffed up as if you had a cold or an allergy, resulting in nosebleeds during pregnancy and/or postnasal drip that may make you cough at night.
So how can you tell the difference between allergies and a bad case of pregnancy congestion? If you’re suffering from allergies, you’ll most likely experience the additional symptoms mentioned above along with the stuffiness and coughing. If noticeable itchiness and sneezing aren’t plaguing you, it could just be the hormone-related congestion of pregnancy. If you’re not sure, talk to your doctor.
If I Have Allergies During Pregnancy Will The Baby Have Allergies
Allergy symptoms during pregnancy are not believed to have any impact on whether your baby develops allergies. Genetics, however, are a major factor in the development of allergies in children. If a child has a parent or a sibling with allergies, then they are at increased risk of getting allergies, too.
An expectant mothers diet during pregnancy may be a factor in whether a child develops allergic rhinitis, food allergies, asthma or eczema. One study found that expectant moms who ate plenty of food-based vitamin D reduced their childs risk of getting allergic rhinitis. Foods with a lot of vitamin D include dairy products, cereals, fish, eggs and mushrooms. Learn more about the allergic march.
Carefully Select Otc Allergy Medications
Healthcare providers do not recommend many allergy medicines during pregnancy.
However, the over-the-counter antihistamines loratadine and cetirizine are both considered safe to take while pregnant or nursing.
These antihistamine medications function by blocking histamine effects, which is a trigger for allergy symptoms.
In addition, they are first-line drugs for allergies in pregnant women.
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Does Allergy Affect Pregnancy
For allergy sufferers, the good news is that whether your seasonal allergy symptoms are mild or severe during pregnancy, the actual symptoms themselves likely wont affect your baby, says OB/Gyn Salena Zanotti, MD. But you may need to change up how youd normally treat those symptoms to limit any risks to your child.
Alternatives To Allergy Medication
You might also find the following tools helpful to avoiding taking allergy medication while pregnant
-limiting exposure to triggers to your allergies
-using an over the counter nasal saline spray to flush allergens
-using a nasal irrigation system like a Neti-Pot
-getting physically active, which can reduce inflammation
-using nasal strips for sleep, as well as elevating pillows
With many safe options for medications over the counter, prescriptions and remedies, you dont have to suffer from your seasonal allergies while pregnant! Subscribe to our newsletter for a free handy guide for medication usage for allergies to reference.
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What Else Can You Do For Allergy During Pregnant
Although it is safe for you to take some allergy medicine while pregnant, you can do many things to prevent allergic reactions from happening too.
1. Avoid the Allergen
Consult with your physician and find out whether allergies or nasal congestion is causing your symptoms. If you are having an allergic reaction during pregnancy, then you can try the following tips to avoid certain allergen.
- For pollen allergy: Stay indoors where the air is conditioned and filtered. Wear wraparound sunglasses when going outdoors to keep your eyes safe from pollen. Thoroughly wash your face and hands when coming indoors.
- For dust allergy: Ask someone else to clean for you. To avoid dust, ask your helpers to use wet mop or a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.
- For food allergies: Refrain from eating foods you are allergic to. Check the labels of food items carefully to ensure they do not contain ingredients you are allergic to.
- For pet allergies: Ask your pet-owning friends to make arrangements before you go to their homes. If you become allergic to your own pet, then try to keep your room pet-free.
- Other tips. Avoiding smokers can keep you safe from allergies and secondhand smoke, which is bad for both you and your baby. And you should stay away from household chemicals. For example, paint thinners can trigger allergic reaction.
2. Relieve Allergic Symptoms
Minor lifestyle changes can help you in avoiding the use of allergy medicine while pregnant and also keep your symptoms under check.
Immunotherapy And Influenza Vaccine
Allergen immunotherapy is often effective for those patients in whom symptoms persist despite optimal environmental control and proper drug therapy. Allergen immunotherapy can be carefully continued during pregnancy in patients who are benefiting and not experiencing adverse reactions. Due to the greater risk of anaphylaxis with increasing doses of immunotherapy and a delay of several months before it becomes effective, it is generally recommended that this therapy not be started during pregnancy.
Patients receiving immunotherapy during pregnancy should be carefully evaluated. It may be appropriate to lower the dosage in order to further reduce the chance of an allergic reaction to the injections.
Influenza vaccine is recommended for all patients with moderate and severe asthma. There is no evidence of associated risk to the mother or fetus.
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How To Choose An Allergy Medicine While Pregnant
After youve identified which medications are safe to take, you need to determine which ones are effective for you.
If you suffer from chronic or environmental allergies , you may want to consider an antihistamine to take every day, such as Zyrtec or Claritin.
You can also treat seasonal allergies with this method, but Benadryl is a good, super-safe option if your symptoms are rare.
However, Benadryl may cause you to become extremely drowsy. Therefore, apply caution when you take it.
If you are unsure how Benadryl will affect you, dont take it before driving or operating a machine. Does it make you sleepy? Use it in the evening before going to bed. It may even improve your sleep!
If you experience pressure or sinus pain during allergies, one of the nasal steroid sprays is an ideal choice.
Pregnant women often experience excess nasal congestion due to increased fluid and blood volume. This can cause swelling throughout the body, not only in the ankles. Therefore, a nasal steroid can alleviate some of those additional symptoms.
Allergy Medications To Avoid During Pregnancy
- Pseudoephedrine : While some studies found that pseudoephedrine is safe in pregnancy, there have been reports of an increase in abdominal wall defects in the babies of mothers who used the medication during pregnancy, according to the ACAAI.
- Phenylephrine and phenylpropanolamine: These decongestants are considered less desirable than taking pseudoephedrine, according to the ACAAI.
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Safe Allergy Medicine While Pregnant Summary
When pregnant, what you take into your body is very important to reduce any complications.
While struggling with allergy symptoms may seem inevitable, ensure not to practice self-medication. Instead, reach out for help from a health practitioner like a pharmacist, midwife, or an OB/GYN, if you consider taking an allergy medicine while pregnant.
They would help evaluate the risk factors and benefits and the right drug based on your medical condition.
The doctor may prescribe an oral antihistamine for mild allergy symptoms like loratadine or cetirizine .
When the allergy symptoms are moderate or severe, your healthcare provider may recommend an oral antihistamine along with a nonprescription corticosteroid spray at the lowest effective dose.
Blood Pressure Medication For People With Asthma
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Potential Harm To Baby
As mentioned, some early studies reported that taking Benadryl and other medications with diphenhydramine could cause abnormalities at birth. These included cleft lip, cleft palate, and other problems with the development of the upper mouth and lower nose.
However, several recent medical studies have found that diphenhydramine doesnt cause these or any abnormalities at birth at all. This research shows that taking Benadryl at any stage of your pregnancy, even the first trimester, is safe.
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
Well take a look at some common allergy medications, allergy treatments and which ones are safe to use during pregnancy.
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What Else Could It Be
Symptoms of hay fever are similar to those of the common cold, but unlike a cold, hay fever is not caused by an infection and it is not contagious.
Another common condition in pregnancy is pregnancy rhinitis. Symptoms are very similar to allergic rhinitis but are not associated with an allergic trigger.
People with allergies are also more likely to have asthma. While around 8 in every 10 people with asthma also have allergies, not everyone with allergies has asthma. Symptoms of asthma include wheezing when breathing out , a persistent cough , shortness of breath. and chest tightness.
If you experience any of these symptoms, ask your doctor whether it might be asthma.
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At Chapel Hill Obgyn We Will Guide You Through Every Step Of Your Pregnancyincluding Allergy Medicines While Pregnant
Allergies can be annoying and make day-to-day life challenging. When youre pregnant, this only adds to the challenges.
We want you to find relief for your allergies, but we want to be sure its done in a way that is safe for your baby. Thats 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 weve been recognized as one of the best in the Triangle by the INDY Best of the Triangle awards.