Approximately a quarter of expectant mothers suffer from recurrent allergies or allergy symptoms while pregnant. If you find yourself a part of this group, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways you can find allergy relief that is safe for you and your child:
Check with your practitioner
As with any other medication, it is important that you check with your doctor about the safety of allergy medications before you take them, even if you had already been taking them regularly before your pregnancy.
Pregnant or not, the easiest way to treat your allergies is through avoidance. Make sure you take steps to avoid allergens that trigger your specific allergies. Here are some recommendations for the most common type of allergies:
- If your allergies are triggered by a pet consider giving the pet to another loving family or at least keeping it outside of the bedroom at all times.
- Seal pillows, mattresses and box springs in special dust mite-proof casings.
- Use air conditioning and keep windows closed.
- Limit outside activity between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., thats when pollution and pollen are at their highest.
- Keep the humidity level in your home to under 50 percent to control mold growth and dust mites.
- If possible, wash bedding weekly in hot water.
- Use filtering vacuums or “filter vacuum bags” to control airborne dust when cleaning.
- Limit exposure to tobacco smoke.
Medications are graded A through D to show their level of safety if used during pregnancy:
- Class A: safest. Proven to be safe in pregnant women.
- Class B: considered safe during pregnancy, although there is no definitive study evidence in humans.
- Class C: potentially harmful according to animal studies, but no studies in humans are available.
- Class D: have been shown to be harmful to human fetuses.
The best score allergy medications have received so far is a Class B. Again, you should consult with your doctor before taking any medications, but the following allergy relief medications are considered safe for expectant mothers and have received a Class B grade:
- Chlorpheniramine (ChlorTrimeton®) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl®): the drawback with these is that they cause drowsiness and performance impairment in some patients.
- Loratadine (Claritin®) and cetirizine (Zyrtec®).
- Cromolyn sodium nasal spray: helpful to prevent allergies but does not provide immediate allergy relief.
The following medications should not be used while pregnant unless cleared by a doctor to do so:
- Decongestants with pseudoephedrine.
- Fexofenadine (Allegra)
If you had been undergoing allergen immunotherapy before your pregnancy, it is safe to continue this treatment during pregnancy provided that you are benefiting from it and are not experiencing adverse reactions to it. However, you should not start immunotherapy treatment during your pregnancy due to the risk of anaphylaxis.
If you are continuing with your allergen immunotherapy treatment during your pregnancy, make sure you are being carefully monitored by a physician.
If your allergy symptoms are mild, try one or more of the following remedies instead of taking medication:
- Saline nasal spray. Over-the-counter saline nasal spray can help ease nasal dryness, bleeding and congestion. Use the spray as often as needed.
- Include physical activity in your daily routine. Exercise helps reduce nasal inflammation.
- Use nasal strips at night.