Allergy Medicine While Pregnant

Environmental allergens like cat dander, pollen fungus and dust are present all around us. Being sensitive to any of these allergens can lead to allergic reactions that can cause eye watering, sniffing and sneezing. During pregnancy, these allergic symptoms can become better or get worse. If this happens, then questions like "Is my baby going to be affected" or "Can I take allergy medicine while pregnant" can come into your mind.

Is It Safe to Take Allergy Medicine While Pregnant?

You can make use of some allergy medicine while pregnant. However, it is important to take care when using drugs during pregnancy because the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) claims that no drug is completely safe for pregnant women, especially in the first trimester.So, consult your doctor before taking any allergy medicine.

The following medicines are usually used for treating allergies. We are going to discuss whether you can take them safely during your pregnancy one by one.

1. OTC Antihistamines

OTC or Over-the-counter antihistamines are usually considered safe for pregnant women even though they have some adverse effects like drowsiness. Still, it is better to ask your doctor about their safety before using them.

Oral antihistamines that are considered to be safe include cetirizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Claritin), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and fexofenadine (Allegra). The steroid spray and nasal sprays containing cromolyn sodium (Nasalcrom) prescribed by doctors are also considered safe. The best thing about sprays is that the drug contained in them doesn't travel throughout the body and remains focused in the nose.

2. Allergy Shots

Pregnant women can get allergy shots only if they had been receiving them for some time prior to conception. Allergists believe that starting allergy shots during pregnancy isn't a good idea because they can cause changes in the immune system leading to unexpected reactions.

3. Decongestants

It is advised not to take oral decongestants in the first trimester. They contain an ingredient named pseudoephedrine that can increase the risk of certain birth defects. Zyrtec-D and Claritin-D are antihistamines combined with decongestants that need to be avoided too.

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 (high-efficiency particulate air) 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.

  • ŸStop the use of window fans as they pull pollen inside.
  • ŸDon't open windows when driving to remain safe from allergens.
  • ŸFrom mid-august to the first frost, ragweed pollen counts are mounting, don't go outdoors that often at this period.
  • ŸNeti pots that are similar to nasal sprays can be used. Prickly pollen grains can be rinsed away by dousing them with saltwater which can help in treating sinus congestion and allergies.
  • ŸInclude foods in your diet that fight allergy. According to a German study published in the journal Allergy, participants eating omega-3 fatty acid rich foods suffered less allergy symptoms than participants who didn't.
  • ŸMake use of herbs like butterbur or stinging nettle. 
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