May 25, 2024

Pregnancy and Allergies: Tips for Managing Allergies Safely

Pregnancy is a special time for expectant mothers, but allergies can make it miserable. Research suggests that up to 20% of pregnant women suffer from allergies. Some women may find that their allergy symptoms worsen during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. However, it is interesting to note that for some women, allergies may stay the same or even disappear during pregnancy.

Managing allergies safely during pregnancy is crucial. Taking appropriate measures to avoid allergens is the safest approach to allergy management. If you suffer from fall or spring hay fever, make sure to keep the windows of your house and car closed to prevent pollen from entering. For those with house dust mite allergies, using mite-proof encasings on mattresses and pillows and removing carpet from the bedroom can be helpful. Pregnant women with pet allergies can improve their symptoms by keeping the pet out of the house or, at the very least, out of the bedroom.

One common question asked by pregnant women with allergies is what medications are safe to use during pregnancy. Ideally, it is best to avoid medication use if possible. However, if necessary, it is important to consult your allergist before discontinuing any current medication or starting a new one, including over-the-counter treatments.

Certain medications are generally considered safe during pregnancy. First-generation oral antihistamines, such as brompheniramine (Dimetapp), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), and diphenhydramine (Benadryl), have been extensively studied and have not shown any fetal risk. However, these antihistamines may have side effects like drowsiness and dry mouth.

Second-generation oral antihistamines, such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) and loratadine (Claritin), as well as intranasal corticosteroids like fluticasone (Flonase) and mometasone (Asmenax), are also considered safe during pregnancy. These medications have fewer side effects compared to first-generation antihistamines.

It is advisable to avoid oral decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) during the first trimester of pregnancy, as studies suggest they may slightly increase the risk of abdominal wall birth defects. However, these treatments are generally safe during later stages of pregnancy, unless the individual has high blood pressure.

Allergy immunotherapy, such as shots, drops, or tablets for desensitization, should not be initiated during pregnancy. However, if the treatment was started prior to pregnancy, it is generally safe to continue with it. It is important to consult with your allergist to determine the right course of action and whether any adjustments need to be made to the immunotherapy schedule.

Some women may develop allergies for the first time during pregnancy, but in most cases, they experience a condition known as rhinitis of pregnancy. This condition is not a true allergy like hay fever but is believed to be caused by hormonal changes. It results in severe nasal congestion, making it difficult to breathe through the nose, particularly when lying down.

Unfortunately, the typical allergy medications that are considered safe for use during pregnancy may not effectively relieve nasal congestion. However, some women find relief by using a humidifier and/or saline nasal spray. Additionally, over-the-counter nasal strips can be safely used to help open the nasal passageways.

The good news is that rhinitis of pregnancy usually goes away within a few weeks after childbirth. However, it tends to reoccur with subsequent pregnancies.

It is essential to work closely with your physician and allergist to effectively and safely manage nasal problems during pregnancy. By taking proper precautions and following medical advice, you can alleviate discomfort and ensure the well-being of both you and your unborn child.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it