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.
Can I Get Allergy Shots During Pregnancy
Pregnant women can continue with allergy shots they started before they were pregnant. They should stay at the current dose through pregnancy do not increase dosage. If theres any reactivity, the doctor may reduce the dosage of the shot.
Its not recommended to start allergy shots during pregnancy. This can trigger changes in an already-fluctuating immune system and may cause a systemic reaction.
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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Safe Otc Allergy Meds To Take During Pregnancy
These over-the-counter allergy meds have no known harmful effects during pregnancy when you take them according to the package directions.
Note: Do not take the ‘D’ forms of these medications in your first trimester.
Check with your doctor before taking any medicines during your pregnancy. Be especially cautious in the first trimester, a crucial time for your baby’s development.
What If Nothing Works
The last line of defense for all allergy sufferers is allergen immunotherapy. This can be in the form of allergy shots or tablets that dissolve under the tongue. Immunotherapy has been shown to be effective in adults and older children, and particularly in preventing allergic asthma. While women may not start immunotherapy during pregnancy, you may be able to continue the treatment during pregnancy if your provider tells you it’s OK to do so. If you’ve tried other medications and they didn’t relieve your allergies, see your healthcare provider. They may refer you to a specialist for allergen immunotherapy.
Reviewed April 2021.
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What Medicines Can I Take For Allergies During Pregnancy
Women should be very cautious when taking medications during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.
Its important to talk with a doctor before using allergy medicine while pregnant. Work together to find an appropriate balance for the medication and symptom control.
Your doctor may first recommend ways to reduce symptoms that dont involve medications. Strategies include allergy proofing your home, avoiding allergy triggers, or using a saline nasal spray, nasal irrigation or nasal strips.
- Oral antihistamines treat nasal and eye allergy symptoms of allergic rhinitis. It is best to take them after the first trimester.
- Loratadine and cetirizine are second-generation oral antihistamines. They are considered safe for pregnancy, according to multiple studies. They do not cause drowsiness unlike first-generation oral antihistamines .
Avoid using antihistamines combined with a decongestant during pregnancy. Research is ongoing on the impact of these medications to mom and baby.
Are There Any Other Precautions That Pregnant Women Need To Take When It Comes To Allergies And Medications
Yes, there are a few other precautions that pregnant women need to take when it comes to allergies and medications. First, it is important to speak with your doctor before taking any medication, even if it is over-the-counter. Additionally, you should avoid self-medicating as much as possible. Finally, you should make sure to keep your doctor up-to-date on your symptoms and how you are managing them.
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Watch The Pollen Count
The main culprit behind spring allergies is pollens in the air. Pollens primarily come from trees and grasses.
When pollen grains get into the nose, the immune system mistakenly labels them as foreign and releases antibodies to attack them. That leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger runny noses, itchy eyes and other symptoms.
Avoiding triggers is your first and best option, although that isnt always easy. Check your citys daily pollen count. The higher the pollen count, the more severe the allergies. When the counts are high or when its windy, keep your windows and doors closed. If possible, stay inside.
How To Prevent Allergies During Pregnancy
Wondering what you can do for allergies during pregnancy besides taking medicine? In general, the best defense is a good offense. Try these tips to prevent or alleviate allergy symptoms while you’re expecting:
- Stay away from people who are smoking. Smoke can make allergies worse, and exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy isn’t good for you or your baby.
- If youre allergic to pollen: Try to stay inside where theres filtered, air-conditioned air. If you do go outside, try wearing wraparound sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes. When you come back inside, take off your shoes, wash your hands and face, and change clothes so the pollen doesn’t stay with you. Showering and washing your hair before you go to sleep can also help relieve nighttime symptoms.
- If youre allergic to dust: Heres your excuse to get someone else to do the cleaning for you! Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, a wet mop or a sweeper to avoid stirring up dust. A microfiber cloth is better than a traditional feather duster. Also try to stay away from attics, basements and other musty places.
- If youre allergic to pets: Let your dog- and cat-owning friends know of your allergy before you drop by, so they have time to make arrangements .
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Medications For Seasonal Allergies During Pregnancy
There are always risks when taking any medication during pregnancy. Women should talk with their doctors before taking allergy medicines to make sure they arent potentially harmful. While doctors consider many oral over-the-counter medications safe for seasonal allergies, using both oral and nasal spray decongestants isnt as studied or well-known. Use of nasal sprays may be safer than oral decongestants. Thats because nasal sprays arent as likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream. An example is oxymetazoline, an ingredient in brands like Afrin and Neo-Synephrine. Women should exercise caution when using nasal sprays for more than three days. This is because using decongestants for longer can make allergy symptoms worse by causing nasal swelling. Some women also get allergy shots. These are compounds of allergens that are injected as a means to desensitize a person to an allergen. If a woman becomes pregnant while she is in the course of her allergy shots, she can usually keep getting them. Pregnancy isnt a good time to start getting allergy shots. Its possible they can cause strong allergic reactions. Without knowing a womans reaction, its best to delay starting allergy shots until after giving birth.
Herbals And Dietary Supplements
During pregnancy, herbal remedies are used for nausea, respiratory symptoms, urinary tract infections, pain, and other nonspecific issues.40 However, there are few human data on the safety of herbal remedies in pregnancy. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 requires manufacturers to ensure the safety of supplements before marketing. However, there is no registration process with the FDA, which takes action only if a supplement is found to be unsafe after marketing.41 Herbals were not included in the NBDPS until the year 2000. According to a subanalysis of the NBDPS, 10.9% of women use herbals during pregnancy, most commonly peppermint, cranberry extract, herbal teas, ginger, chamomile, Echinacea, ginseng, raspberry leaf, and ephedra products.42
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What Is The Best Allergy Medicine For Babies Under 2
Although nasal symptoms, such as a runny nose, may exist in babies under age 2, allergic rhinitis is uncommon in this group since they have not yet had repeated exposure to inhaled allergens. Before you look for an allergy medicine for a 1-year-old or a 2-year-old, call your child’s healthcare provider. Young children should be evaluated for other causes of allergy-like symptoms before being treated with common allergy medicines.
Where Can I Learn More About Safe Medicines During Pregnancy
If you have a question about the safety of any medication during pregnancy, talk with your healthcare provider.
An excellent online resource for evidence-based information on medication safety is the MotherToBaby website, a service of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists. This is a professional scientific organization of experts who study teratogens, which are chemicals or substances in the environment that can cause birth defects. The website provides fact sheets on drugs and exposures that might affect your baby as well as a list of teratogen information services that you can contact for more information.
BabyCenter’s editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you’re seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.
Briggs G, et al. 2008. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation, 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
MotherToBaby. 2020. Acetaminophen.
MotherToBaby. 2019. Chlorpheniramine.
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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.
Allergy Relief Alternatives To Zyrtec
While using this particular medication while pregnant is most of the time a normal thing, there are certain women who may be interested in avoiding drugs and turn to other alternatives that involve allergy relief.
Here`re a few drug-free methods that can be used to aid relieve seasonal allergic reactions.
- Avoiding pollen peak time frames Pollen is a massive trigger of allergies. If it also involves you, you should try and remain indoors as the day starts and then again around the middle of the day when it`s considered the pollen count to be at the highest.
- Physical exercise Research proves that exercises and workout could in fact aid ease the inflammation of the nose.
- Using saline Lots of people who experience allergic reactions are making use of saline spray in order to flush out the nasal passages and get them rid of various irritants. You could try and use a neti pot that is filled with saline water as well.
- Close the windows Although most people love fresh air, it isn`t a good idea when it comes people suffering of allergies, especially when talking about pregnant women. You should try and maintain the windows closed while in allergy season, and if it is hot outside, just use the air conditioner.
What Is The Best Allergy Medicine For Kids
The best allergy medicine for kids depends on your child’s age, symptoms and other health conditions. If your child is diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, treatment can include nasal sprays, such as cromolyn sodium or oral antihistamines, such as loratadine , fexofenadine or cetirizine for mild or episodic symptoms. Zyrtec has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for children older than 6 months of age. Claritin and Allegra have been approved for use in children age 2 and older. Zyrtec, Allegra and Claritin are available in a liquid syrup formulation that is specially dosed for children.
For children with severe allergy symptoms that are not relieved by oral medications, a steroidal nasal spray may be considered. Nasacort, Flonase and Nasonex have all been approved by the FDA for children over 2 years of age. The dose is typically one spray per nostril, once daily. Nosebleeds are a common side effect of these nasal sprays but are usually nothing to worry about. Coating the insides of your child’s nostrils with a saline gel, like Ayr, may help prevent this side effect.
If you are looking for an allergy medicine for a child of toddler age or older who is experiencing itchy eyes, consider topical allergy eye drops, such as olopatadine , for kids age 3 and older, or ketotifen , for children age 2 and older. These are antihistamine medications that can relieve itchy eyes due to allergens for up 12 hours.
What Can I Do To Reduce Allergy Symptoms During Pregnancy Without Taking Medications
Stay away from people who are smoking. Smoke can make allergies worse. Exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy isnt good for you or your baby.
If youre allergic to pollen, try to stay inside as much as possible. If you do go outside, try wearing wraparound sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes. When you come back inside, take off your shoes, wash your hands and face, and change clothes so the pollen doesnt stay with you. Then put your clothes in the wash. Shower and wash your hair before you go to sleep to help relieve nighttime symptoms.
If youre allergic to dust, make sure your house is cleaned regularly or hire someone to clean for you. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, a wet mop or a sweeper to avoid stirring up dust. A microfiber cloth is better than a traditional feather duster. Try to keep away from attics, basements and other musty places.
If youre allergic to pets, let your dog- and cat-owning friends know of your allergy before you drop by so they have time to make arrangements. If youre suddenly allergic to your own pet, try to make at least one room in your house pet-free.
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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.
How Pregnancy Can Affect Allergies
If youve already noticed that youre more bothered by allergies, youre not alone. Studies suggest that allergy symptoms increase for 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women. But allergies are also unpredictable. Some women find no change while others say theyre less affected when pregnant, and still others develop allergies for the first time.
Though having allergies can be difficult for you, the allergies themselves dont seem to affect your baby directly. What you take for them, however, could pass to him or her in the womb. The problem is that it’s not entirely clear which drugs do this, making it hard to know whats truly safe, according to research in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Also, few studies have looked at the best ways to treat allergies in pregnant women.
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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.
How Might Allergies Affect Your Pregnancy And Baby
If you have allergies, you can definitely have a safe, healthy pregnancy. In fact, your baby likely won’t notice a thing in there, even if you’re feeling pretty 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, try as best as you can to steer clear of known allergy triggers when possible .
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