What type of allergy medicine can a pregnant woman take

While it would be best to avoid allergens that annoy you, that’s not always a possibility. Numerous pregnant women and their providers prefer to start with a non-pharmaceutical treatment plan whenever possible. Dr. Janelle Luk, medical director and co-founder of Generation Next Fertility in New York City, suggests an over-the-counter saline nasal spray.

Dr. Luk also recommends physical activity to reduce nasal inflammation.

What type of allergy medicine can a pregnant lady take

In addition, she says patients with a stuffy nose might be capable to sleep better if they elevate the head of the bed by 30 to 45 degrees during sleep.

However, sometimes those non-pharmaceutical options just don’t do the trick, and you need something stronger (aka allergy medicine) to ease your distress. In that case, there are several options that are safe to try.

“For moderate to severe allergies, your physician may recommend a nonprescription corticosteroid spray or an oral antihistamine,” Dr.

Luk says. “Some nasal spray options include Rhinocort Allergy, Flonase, and Nasonex.”

For oral antihistamines, Staunton says she recommends Claritin (loratadine) or Zyrtec (cetirizine) because of their excellent safety history. Both are rated pregnancy category B by the FDA. This means that controlled studies in animals own shown no adverse effects to the developing fetus.

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is considered fairly safe during pregnancy, according to the CDC.

However, Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion is not safe for pregnant women because it contains phenylephrine.

You can also take one of the oral antihistamines together with a nasal spray if neither one controls your symptoms on its own.

As for subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy (SCIT), aka allergy shots—if you were on them before pregnancy, your doctor may continue them. But they wouldn’t be started during pregnancy because of “the potential harm that could result if a reaction were to occur,” Staunton says.

If you are suffering from allergy symptoms, speak with your provider about your best options for allergy medicine while pregnant.

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


Avoid certain allergy medicine while pregnant

There are a number of medications that are not safe to take during pregnancy.

First among them are oral decongestants.

Oral decongestants are best avoided altogether during the first trimester because of an uncertain risk of several rare birth defects,” says Ciara Staunton, a family nurse practitioner and owner of Staunton Primary Care in Cincinnati. “However, Sudafed (pseudoephedrine), which is locked up behind the pharmacy counter, can be used in the second and third trimesters in women without hypertension.”

But Staunton warns that Sudafed-PE (phenylephrine), the over-the-counter option, should never be taken during pregnancy.

What type of allergy medicine can a pregnant lady take

It is less effective than pseudoephedrine. But more importantly, its safety for pregnant women is questionable.

Ms. Staunton also recommends against using any herbal therapies during pregnancy. “In the United States and most other countries, herbal medicines are minimally regulated and not monitored for adverse events.”


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 type of allergy medicine can a pregnant lady take

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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What type of allergy medicine can a pregnant lady take

  • Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003; 90:S1-40.
  • This enhanced congestion makes seasonal allergy symptoms worse.
  • Pregnancy hormones might cause the inner lining of your nose to swell.

    What type of allergy medicine can a pregnant lady take

    This causes nasal congestion and a runny nose.

  • 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.
  • Kar S, Krishnan A, Preetha K, Mohankar A. A review of antihistamines used during pregnancy. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012;3(2):105–108. doi:10.4103/0976-500X.95503

  • Severe congestion could lead to poor stress and poor sleep quality.

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.

More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What type of allergy medicine can a pregnant lady take

In fact, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.

What’s more, pregnancy can sometimes make allergy symptoms worse. Every woman’s body is diverse, and every pregnancy is diverse, so it’s impossible to predict exactly how allergies will affect an individual pregnant woman.

But in general, pregnant women may experience some of the following symptoms differently from other allergy sufferers:

  1. Pregnancy hormones might cause the inner lining of your nose to swell.

    This causes nasal congestion and a runny nose.

  2. This enhanced congestion makes seasonal allergy symptoms worse.
  3. Severe congestion could lead to poor stress and poor sleep quality.

If you’re expecting and suffering from symptoms love these, here’s what you need to know about taking allergy medicine while pregnant.

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.

More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In fact, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.

What’s more, pregnancy can sometimes make allergy symptoms worse. Every woman’s body is diverse, and every pregnancy is diverse, so it’s impossible to predict exactly how allergies will affect an individual pregnant woman.

But in general, pregnant women may experience some of the following symptoms differently from other allergy sufferers:

  1. Pregnancy hormones might cause the inner lining of your nose to swell. This causes nasal congestion and a runny nose.
  2. This enhanced congestion makes seasonal allergy symptoms worse.
  3. Severe congestion could lead to poor stress and poor sleep quality.

If you’re expecting and suffering from symptoms love these, here’s what you need to know about taking allergy medicine while pregnant.


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.


Decongestants

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

What type of allergy medicine can a pregnant lady take

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


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