What Can I Take For Allergies While Pregnant

What Can I Take For Allergies While Pregnant
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Many readers are interested in the following topic: Seasonal Allergy Medicine You Can Take When You’re Pregnant. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

But the effects of herbal supplements and aromatherapy oils during pregnancy haven’t been well studied. Dr. Zanotti says it’s better to steer clear of these options.

How to Treat Seasonal Allergies During Pregnancy

If you can’t step outside without sneezing, chances are seasonal allergies are to blame. Pregnancy can cause enough symptoms as it is. But adding an itchy nose to an itchy belly can make for a long trimester.

Seasonal allergies cause symptoms, including:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • itching
  • runny nose

The condition can affect your breathing. So can pregnancy. Fortunately, there are many safe treatments you can use to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms.

You need to be careful of the medications you take and other treatments during pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know about treating seasonal allergies.

Your body’s immune system ideally fights against “bad guys” like flu viruses, colds, and other infection-causing organisms that seek to make you sick. But sometimes, your immune system reacts to things that really aren’t all that harmful to you. This is the case with seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies occur when your body reacts to allergens that tend to show up in a certain season. Seasonal allergies are usually your body’s reaction to pollen. Pollen is a powdery substance that forms the male sperms cells that fertilize plants so they can reproduce. Common culprits of seasonal allergies include:

  • cocklebur
  • grasses
  • molds
  • pigweed
  • ragweed
  • trees
  • tumbleweed

Depending on where you live, spring allergies can pop up around February and end in early summer. Fall allergies can take place in late summer and continue until late fall. Pregnancy can make seasonal allergies worse. Also, a condition called “rhinitis of pregnancy” can cause similar symptoms to seasonal allergies. This usually occurs in the last trimester. But the cause of rhinitis of pregnancy is extra hormones, not allergens.

Moms-to-be with seasonal allergies can use several at-home treatments to relieve their symptoms. Some examples include:

  • Creating a saline nasal spray by combining 8 ounces of warm water with 1/4 salt to the water. You can add this to a spray or squeeze bottle to irrigate and soothe irritated nasal passages. Neti pots are another option.
  • Watching news reports and checking pollen counts daily. During episodes of large pollen counts, pregnant women can avoid too much time outdoors to keep exposure down.
  • Avoiding going outdoors between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., the times when pollen counts are usually the highest.
  • Taking showers and changing clothing after being outside. This can help remove pollen that builds up on hair and clothing.
  • Wearing a protective filter mask when doing outdoor activities like mowing the lawn or gardening.
  • Wearing over-the-counter nasal strips at night. These position the nasal passages so they’re more open. This reduces a person’s symptoms.

If you can avoid whatever’s causing your seasonal allergies, you can often keep your symptoms at bay.

Most pregnant women can safely take over-the-counter allergy medications. Examples of medications that have research to support that they’re safe for pregnant women to take (as of currently available data) include:

  • cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • chlorpheniramine (ChlorTrimeton)
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • loratadine (Claritin)

There are always risks when taking any medication during pregnancy. Women should talk with their doctors before taking allergy medicines to make sure they aren’t potentially harmful. While doctors consider many oral over-the-counter medications safe for seasonal allergies, using both oral and nasal spray decongestants isn’t as studied or well-known. Use of nasal sprays may be safer than oral decongestants. That’s because nasal sprays aren’t as likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream. An example is oxymetazoline, an ingredient in brands like Afrin and Neo-Synephrine. Women should exercise caution when using nasal sprays for more than three days. This is because using decongestants for longer can make allergy symptoms worse by causing nasal swelling. Some women also get allergy shots. These are compounds of allergens that are injected as a means to desensitize a person to an allergen. If a woman becomes pregnant while she is in the course of her allergy shots, she can usually keep getting them. Pregnancy isn’t a good time to start getting allergy shots. It’s possible they can cause strong allergic reactions. Without knowing a woman’s reaction, it’s best to delay starting allergy shots until after giving birth.

Doctors haven’t widely studied some medicines regarding their safety in pregnancy. This is because it isn’t ethical to perform testing on pregnant women. As a result, most information about medications is due to reports and knowledge about general medication safety. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI), several medications aren’t considered safe. During the first trimester, it’s especially important to consider the potential risks and benefits because the baby is developing the most then. Unsafe treatments during pregnancy include:

  • Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed): While some studies found that pseudoephedrine is safe in pregnancy, there have been reports of an increase in abdominal wall defects in the babies of mothers who used the medication during pregnancy, according to the ACAAI.
  • Phenylephrine and phenylpropanolamine: These decongestants are considered “less desirable” than taking pseudoephedrine, according to the ACAAI.

If your seasonal allergy symptoms have made sleep evasive or are interfering with your daily activities, treatments are available that are likely safe for you and baby. Always talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding medications. You can also read medication labels carefully to ensure your medicines don’t have a warning for pregnant women (manufacturers are legally required to list their pregnancy safety information). If you have questions on specific allergy medicines, visit the website MotherToBaby.org. This site is operated by the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, whose members study medication safety for pregnant and breast-feeding moms. Pregnancy and seasonal allergies are self-limiting conditions. Your due date will come and blooming season will end. It’s important you stay as comfortable as possible while you navigate both.


What remedies are helpful for allergies during pregnancy? Anonymous patient


The safest methods are taking simple steps such as trying to avoid known allergens and saline nose drops. When this doesn’t work, over-the-counter antihistamines such as Claritin, Zyrtec, and Tavist are acceptable. Sudafed can be used after the first trimester with caution if other methods fail. Almost all of these medications are category C which means there aren’t sufficient studies available to assure safety, yet there are no significant known problems with these drugs. If the problem is severe or is not responding to home remedies, seek the advice of a doctor. Michael Weber, MD

Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Seasonal Allergy Medicine You Can Take When You’re Pregnant

woman pregnant with allergies

If you’ve lived with seasonal allergies, you probably already know what usually eases your symptoms. Your medicine cabinet may already be well-prepared for the onslaught of allergens that get your nose a-dripping.

Your allergies may be a real bother for you. But take comfort in knowing that your symptoms won’t interfere with healthy fetal development, says Ob/Gyn Salena Zanotti, MD.

But how you treat your allergies could impact your pregnancy. Take care in choosing treatments that are appropriate for your symptoms and are pregnancy-safe.

And you may already know some medications are off-limits during pregnancy. The same is true of allergy meds. Some you can keep taking. Others should be avoided. And some allergy meds might be OK depending on the situation.

It’s a lot to sift through. Dr. Zanotti helps sort it out.

Is it safe to take allergy medicine while pregnant?

It’s safe to take certain allergy relief medications when you’re pregnant, but you’ll want to choose wisely. You may be able to take the edge off your allergies with some non-medication options as well.

Your options may be different depending on your health and any other risk factors associated with your pregnancy. So, it’s always best to talk with your healthcare provider about the best allergy relief for you during your pregnancy.

“No medication is 100% safe for 100% of people,” Dr. Zanotti says. “That’s true whether you’re pregnant or not. And during pregnancy, even choices that are generally considered safe can still carry some small degree of risk. If your symptoms are severe, some medications are better than others. For more mild symptoms, there are other, non-medication ways to feel better.”

Dr. Zanotti shares these options.

Chart: Are your allergy meds pregnancy-safe?

Allergy medicine Safety
Antihistamine tablets Generally considered safe.
Antihistamine nasal spray Not enough evidence to consider safe.
Nasal steroid spray Generally considered safe.
Allergy shots Generally considered safe if used prior to pregnancy. Avoid starting new during pregnancy.
Decongestants (pills and sprays) Generally considered safe after the second trimester. Avoid if you have high blood pressure.
Herbal allergy relief remedies Not enough evidence to consider safe.


Antihistamine medications block the effects of histamine, a trigger for allergy symptoms. They’re some of the most widely used over-the-counter medications for seasonal allergies.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists says these antihistamine tablets are safe in pregnancy:

  • Loratadine (Claritin®).
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec® and Alleroff®).
  • Chlorpheniramine.
  • Dexchlorpheniramine.
  • Hydroxyzine.

“Antihistamine tablets are typically the first-line medication option for treating allergy symptoms in pregnancy,” Dr. Zanotti says.

You’ll want to read product labels closely. Some antihistamines you find in the store may also contain decongestants, which some people who are pregnant shouldn’t use. (More on that in a bit.) One sign your antihistamine contains a decongestant is the letter “D” at the end of the brand name, like Claritin-D® or Zyrtec-D®. Or you might see words like “cold relief” or “congestion relief” on the packaging.

Antihistamine nasal sprays are also available. But Dr. Zanotti says not enough research has been done to know if they’re safe during pregnancy. Until more research is done, it’s better to avoid nasal antihistamine sprays.

Nasals spray

In addition to antihistamines, some people find relief from steroid nasal sprays. That includes brands like Nasonex®, Nasacort® or Flonase®.

These sprays are safe to use throughout pregnancy, at the same recommended dosage, Dr. Zanotti says. If your allergies are really kicked into high gear, you can use both an oral antihistamine and nasal spray together.

You may have heard that some nasal sprays can be addictive, but that’s only true of decongestant sprays. Those shouldn’t be used when you’re pregnant. Steroid sprays aren’t habit-forming. If fact, they should be used regularly to have the best effect.

Additionally, you could try saline nasal sprays. Those products use a combination of water and salt. They’re safe for pregnancy. And they can be an effective, non-medicinal solution for your nasal congestion.

Allergy shots

Allergy shots (allergen immunotherapy) help minimize allergic reactions. They work by exposing you repeatedly to very small amounts of allergens. People who choose this treatment for allergy relief typically get an injection each week over a period of several years.

If you started receiving allergy shots before pregnancy and they help your symptoms, it’s safe to continue them, notes Dr. Zanotti. But pregnancy isn’t usually the right time to start up allergen immunotherapy treatment.

“We don’t recommend starting allergy shots during your pregnancy because you don’t know what reaction you’ll have,” she continues.

Some people have negative reactions to allergy shots, including a drop in blood pressure, hives and trouble breathing. If you haven’t had allergy shots before, you can’t know if you’ll have a reaction that could impact healthy fetal development.


Before you were pregnant, popping a decongestant may have been your go-to for that sweet, sweet, nasal relief. But decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed®) should be considered off-limits for the first trimester.

Research shows that use of oral decongestants increases the risk of birth defects. Researchers say that nasal decongestant sprays may carry similar risks.

Dr. Zanotti says that risk drops after the first trimester, so it’s OK for some people to use decongestant medication later in their pregnancy.

But if you have high blood pressure, you should avoid using decongestants, no matter how far along you are in your pregnancy.

“Decongestants narrow blood vessels in your nose. That opens up your airways and reduces swelling that leads to things like stuffy noses,” she explains. “That narrowing, though, can affect other blood vessels, too, and further increase your blood pressure.”

Herbal remedies

Some people swear by specific herbs and other natural remedies for allergy relief. You may have even tried options like echinacea, mullein or grape seed extract in the past. Or maybe you swear by applying a bit of lavender, eucalyptus or tea tree oil to clear up your sinuses.

But the effects of herbal supplements and aromatherapy oils during pregnancy haven’t been well studied. Dr. Zanotti says it’s better to steer clear of these options.

Other ways to get allergy relief

Medication isn’t the only option for relieving your allergy pressure. Some people decide medications aren’t right for them, especially if their allergy symptoms are mild. You may find that there are some home remedies that can do the trick — and keep you safe during your pregnancy.

  • A relaxing shower can open up your airways and rinse away allergens that settle on your body.
  • Humidifiers can moisten the air in your home and soothe irritated nasal passages.
  • Neti pots and saline spray can clear up your sinuses and remove excess mucus.
  • Keep your windows closed when pollen levels are high. Alternatively, open your windows and air out your home if indoor pollutants, like pet dander, are causing your trouble.

Allergies can be a real drag, especially if you’re already dealing with other pregnancy discomforts, like back pain or morning sickness. Luckily, there are pregnancy-safe options for allergy relief. And, remember, the issue is only temporary.

“Your symptoms may be unpleasant, but bear in mind that neither pregnancy nor seasonal allergy symptoms last forever,” reassures Dr. Zanotti. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

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