What medicine can you take while pregnant for allergies

Pseudoephedrine (known by the brand name Sudafed and others) is the preferred oral decongestant to treat allergies during pregnancy.

What medicine can you take while pregnant for allergies

Classified as Pregnancy Category C, pseudoephedrine is known to hazardous in certain situations.


Can I get allergies while I’m 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.


Medicated Nasal Sprays

Cromolyn nasal spray is helpful in treating allergic rhinitis if it is used before exposure to an allergen and prior to the onset of symptoms.

This medication is Pregnancy Category B and is available over the counter.

If Cromolyn is not helpful, a nasal steroid spray called Rhinocort Aqua (budesonide) received a Pregnancy Category B rating. Every other steroid nasal sprays are category C) and should be avoided during pregnancy.


Antihistamines

Older antihistamines, such as chlorpheniramine, are the preferred agents to treat allergic rhinitis during pregnancy and are both Category B medications.

Newer antihistamines such as over-the-counter loratadine (Claritin, generic forms) and cetirizine (Zyrtec, generic forms) are also Pregnancy Category B medications.

A newer prescription antihistamine that is Pregnancy Category B is Xyzal (levocetirizine).


Immunotherapy

Allergy shots can be continued during pregnancy, but it is not recommended to start this treatment while pregnant.

What medicine can you take while pregnant for allergies

Typically the dose of the allergy shots is not increased, and numerous allergists will cut the dose of the allergy shot by 50% during pregnancy.

Some allergists feel that allergy shots should be stopped during pregnancy given the risk of anaphylaxis and the resulting harm to the fetus. Other than anaphylaxis, no data shows that the allergy shots themselves are actually harmful to the fetus.

How to Treat Allergies During Pregnancy

Generally speaking, allergy medications are classified as either Pregnancy Category B or Category C.

Pseudoephedrine should not be used during the entire first trimester as is linked to a birth defect called gastroschisis in which the baby's intestines are found exterior of the body.

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  • Dykewicz MS, Fineman S, editors. Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: Finish Guidelines of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
  • Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters.

    What medicine can you take while pregnant for allergies

    Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003; 90:S1-40.

  • Kar S, Krishnan A, Preetha K, Mohankar A. A review of antihistamines used during pregnancy. J Pharmacol Pharmacother.

    What medicine can you take while pregnant for allergies

    2012;3(2):105–108. doi:10.4103/0976-500X.95503

  • wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  • stay indoors whenever possible
  • keep windows and doors shut as much as possible

Additional Reading

  1. Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003; 90:S1-40.
  2. Dykewicz MS, Fineman S, editors. Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: Finish Guidelines of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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:

  1. stay indoors whenever possible
  2. wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  3. 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.

Additional Reading

  1. Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters.

    Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol.

    What medicine can you take while pregnant for allergies

    2003; 90:S1-40.

  2. Dykewicz MS, Fineman S, editors. Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: Finish Guidelines of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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:

  1. stay indoors whenever possible
  2. wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  3. 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.


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).


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:

  1. loratadine – this is generally the first choice for pregnant women because of the quantity of safety data available for it
  2. 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.

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.

What medicine can you take while pregnant for allergies

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.


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