What type of allergy medicine can i take while pregnant

Pseudoephedrine (known by the brand name Sudafed and others) is the preferred oral decongestant to treat allergies during pregnancy. Classified as Pregnancy Category C, pseudoephedrine is known to hazardous in certain situations.


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.


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. 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.”


How to safely treat allergies during pregnancy

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. 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.

What type of allergy medicine can i take while pregnant

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.

allergyallergy medspregnancy

It’s understandable that a lot of women don’t love to take unnecessary medicines when they’re pregnant.

What type of allergy medicine can i take while pregnant

No mother-to-be would ever desire to put her baby at an increased risk of a birth defect caused by medication. However, allergies can make some lady so miserable that medications may be needed just so that allergy symptoms are not taking over their lives.

According to the Food and Drug istration (FDA), no medicines are considered completely safe in pregnancy. This is because no pregnant lady would desire to sign up for a medication safety study while she is pregnant.

Therefore, the FDA has assigned risk categories to medications based on use in pregnancy:

  1. Category B medications own been studied in pregnant animals, which show that they are relatively safe, but no human studies are available.
  2. Category D medications show clear risk to the fetus, but there may be instances in which the benefits outweigh the risks in humans.
  3. Category C medications may result in adverse effects on the fetus when studied in pregnant animals, but the benefits of these drugs may outweigh the potential risks in humans.
  4. Category A medications are medications in which there are excellent studies in pregnant women showing the safety of the medication to the baby in the first trimester.

    Few medications are in this category and no asthma medications are rated category A.

  5. Category X medications show clear evidence of birth defects in animals and/or human studies and should not be used in pregnancy.

Which Medications Are Safe in Pregnancy?


Immunotherapy

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

Thanks for your feedback!

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.

Read our editorial policy to study more about how we fact-check and hold our content precise, dependable, and trustworthy.

  • 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.
  • wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
  • stay indoors whenever possible
  • Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. ; S
  • Kar S, Krishnan A, Preetha K, Mohankar A.

    A review of antihistamines used during pregnancy. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. ;3(2)– doi/X

  • The remaining one-third discover that their allergy symptoms are about the same as before pregnancy.
  • One-third of fortunate women discover that their allergy symptoms clear up.
  • Another one-third of women discover that their allergy symptoms worsen.
  • keep windows and doors shut as much as possible

Additional Reading

  1. Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol.

    ; S

  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.

If youve lived with seasonal allergies, you know what generally eases your symptoms. But if your allergies flare up while youre pregnant, your choices narrow. Its more work to understand what wont pose a risk to your baby.

Advertising Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical middle.

Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

As with most aspects of pregnancy, it’s hard to tell ahead of time how allergies might affect you. The excellent news is that whether your seasonal allergy symptoms are mild or severe, the symptoms themselves likely wont affect your baby, says OB/Gyn Salena Zanotti, MD.

But will you notice a change in your allergy symptoms while you’re pregnant? It could go either way, she says.

  1. One-third of fortunate women discover that their allergy symptoms clear up.
  2. Another one-third of women discover that their allergy symptoms worsen.
  3. The remaining one-third discover that their allergy symptoms are about the same as before pregnancy.

“It’s amusing, with pregnancy we see allergies go every three ways,” says Dr.

Zanotti. “And we see that with asthma as well.”

So however it goes for you, Dr. Zanotti suggests five tips that will assist you safely manage your symptoms while youre expecting.

Treat mild symptoms with home remedies

Nasal congestion is common during pregnancy, Dr. Zanotti says.

Advertising Policy

Using a humidifier in your home can sometimes assist solve that problem. It won’t remove allergens from the environment, but it will moisten the air. And that can assist soothe irritated nasal passages.

You can also attempt a saline or salt water nasal spray to assist ease congestion, she says.

Take care with allergy shots, pseudoephedrine and herbal remedies

“If you own received allergy shots before pregnancy and thought they helped your symptoms, it’s safe to continue them,” says Dr.

Zanotti. “But we don’t recommend initiating allergy shots during pregnancy, because you don’t know what reaction you will have.”

She says numerous expectant mothers enquire about taking pseudoephedrine (a decongestant in such products as Sudafed®).

She recommends that you avoid it in your first trimester. But you may take it in the second and third trimesters, as endless as you don’t own high blood pressure, she says.

As for herbal remedies and aromatherapy, Dr.

Zanotti says their effects on pregnant women haven’t been studied sufficiently. So it’s best to steer clear of them.

Attempt an intra-nasal steroid spray

If your allergies are severe and you aren’t getting relief from OTC allergy drugs, attempt an intra-nasal steroid spray, such as Nasonex® or Flonase®.

These sprays are safe to use throughout pregnancy and regular dosing is appropriate, Dr. Zanotti says.

Advertising Policy

Avoid allergy triggers as much as possible

Environmental allergens such as mold, pollen and animal dander are most often to blame for allergy symptoms.

And they are also the most hard allergens to avoid.

Dr. Zanotti’s advice? When pollen or pollution levels are high, limit your time exterior. Hold your windows closed and turn on your air conditioning or a fan to assist limit your exposure.

Be picky about over-the-counter allergy medications

Many allergy medications aren’t safe to take during pregnancy.

What type of allergy medicine can i take while pregnant

But loratadine (found in Claratin®) and cetirizine (found in Zyrtec® and Alleroff®) are two over-the-counter antihistamine medications that doctors consider safe to use during pregnancy and when breastfeeding, Dr. Zanotti says.

Antihistamine medications work by blocking the effects of histamine, which is a trigger for allergy symptoms.

“These medications are really the first-line medications for treating allergies in pregnant women,” she says.

Hang in there

If you own tried Dr. Zanotti’s treatment options but aren’t getting much relief, remind yourself that the problem is only temporary.

“It’s significant to hold in mind that neither pregnancy nor seasonal allergy symptoms final forever,” she says.

“There is light at the finish of the tunnel.”

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.

Additional Reading

  1. Allergen Immunotherapy Practice Parameters.

    Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. ; S

  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.

If youve lived with seasonal allergies, you know what generally eases your symptoms. But if your allergies flare up while youre pregnant, your choices narrow. Its more work to understand what wont pose a risk to your baby.

Advertising Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical middle. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.

What type of allergy medicine can i take while pregnant

Policy

As with most aspects of pregnancy, it’s hard to tell ahead of time how allergies might affect you. The excellent news is that whether your seasonal allergy symptoms are mild or severe, the symptoms themselves likely wont affect your baby, says OB/Gyn Salena Zanotti, MD.

But will you notice a change in your allergy symptoms while you’re pregnant? It could go either way, she says.

  1. One-third of fortunate women discover that their allergy symptoms clear up.
  2. Another one-third of women discover that their allergy symptoms worsen.
  3. The remaining one-third discover that their allergy symptoms are about the same as before pregnancy.

“It’s amusing, with pregnancy we see allergies go every three ways,” says Dr.

Zanotti. “And we see that with asthma as well.”

So however it goes for you, Dr. Zanotti suggests five tips that will assist you safely manage your symptoms while youre expecting.

Treat mild symptoms with home remedies

Nasal congestion is common during pregnancy, Dr. Zanotti says.

Advertising Policy

Using a humidifier in your home can sometimes assist solve that problem. It won’t remove allergens from the environment, but it will moisten the air. And that can assist soothe irritated nasal passages.

You can also attempt a saline or salt water nasal spray to assist ease congestion, she says.

Take care with allergy shots, pseudoephedrine and herbal remedies

“If you own received allergy shots before pregnancy and thought they helped your symptoms, it’s safe to continue them,” says Dr.

What type of allergy medicine can i take while pregnant

Zanotti. “But we don’t recommend initiating allergy shots during pregnancy, because you don’t know what reaction you will have.”

She says numerous expectant mothers enquire about taking pseudoephedrine (a decongestant in such products as Sudafed®).

She recommends that you avoid it in your first trimester. But you may take it in the second and third trimesters, as endless as you don’t own high blood pressure, she says.

As for herbal remedies and aromatherapy, Dr. Zanotti says their effects on pregnant women haven’t been studied sufficiently. So it’s best to steer clear of them.

Attempt an intra-nasal steroid spray

If your allergies are severe and you aren’t getting relief from OTC allergy drugs, attempt an intra-nasal steroid spray, such as Nasonex® or Flonase®.

These sprays are safe to use throughout pregnancy and regular dosing is appropriate, Dr.

Zanotti says.

Advertising Policy

Avoid allergy triggers as much as possible

Environmental allergens such as mold, pollen and animal dander are most often to blame for allergy symptoms. And they are also the most hard allergens to avoid.

Dr. Zanotti’s advice? When pollen or pollution levels are high, limit your time exterior. Hold your windows closed and turn on your air conditioning or a fan to assist limit your exposure.

Be picky about over-the-counter allergy medications

Many allergy medications aren’t safe to take during pregnancy. But loratadine (found in Claratin®) and cetirizine (found in Zyrtec® and Alleroff®) are two over-the-counter antihistamine medications that doctors consider safe to use during pregnancy and when breastfeeding, Dr.

Zanotti says.

Antihistamine medications work by blocking the effects of histamine, which is a trigger for allergy symptoms.

“These medications are really the first-line medications for treating allergies in pregnant women,” she says.

Hang in there

If you own tried Dr. Zanotti’s treatment options but aren’t getting much relief, remind yourself that the problem is only temporary.

“It’s significant to hold in mind that neither pregnancy nor seasonal allergy symptoms final forever,” she says.

“There is light at the finish of the tunnel.”

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.

What type of allergy medicine can i take while 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.


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).


RELATED VIDEO: