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Safe Allergy Medicine While Pregnant

Allergy Medicine While Pregnant: What Is Safe to Use?

Can you take allergy medicine while pregnant? What allergy medications are safe to use while pregnant?

Continue reading to discover safer medications and a guide to better allergy treatments.

It can feel risky taking medications that you usually rely on. Your condition may feel worse because of temporary changes to your pregnant body, like heightened stress or morning sickness.

In addition, you might find yourself waking up with a stuffy nose in the middle of the night when all you want to do is rest.

You’re already overloaded with “don’ts” for pregnancy. The list of things to avoid seems to grow by the week. So, if you suffer from allergies while pregnant, you may be restricted in your choices.

Pregnancy is already stressful enough, but choosing the ideal allergy medicine while pregnant for you and your baby shouldn’t be.

After all, there are plenty of options that work as well as – or better – than your regular allergy medicine.

Therefore, you will require a little digging and time to discover what’s safe and what’s not.

Allergy sufferers often take antihistamines to relieve their symptoms. Some studies have shown that taking over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medicines while pregnant is safe, including chlorpheniramine, hydroxyzine, and dexchlorpheniramine.

Cetirizine and loratadine are among the newer antihistamines that are potentially safe. Additionally, you can use a corticosteroid nasal spray safe during pregnancy.

However, pseudoephedrine, one of the most common decongestants, may cause a small risk of birth defects of the abdominal wall. When pregnant, avoid using pseudoephedrine during the first three months.

Whichever treatment you choose, make sure it’s safe for you and your baby.

And if you are not sure of the safe allergy medicine while pregnant to take, contact your healthcare provider.

See also: Safe Cold Medicines While Breastfeeding: What can I take?

Can You Take Allergy Medicine While Pregnant? What Allergy Medications Are Safe?

Fortunately, you will find an abundance of OTC allergy medications that are safe to take while pregnant.

So, you needn’t suffer from miserable allergy symptoms. However, you have to take them according to the instructions on the package.

Allergy Medicine While Pregnant- Oral Tablets

Loratadine (Claritin)

Loratadine is an antihistamine for treating symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, itching, sneezing from “hay fever,” and other allergic symptoms. In addition, it is used to alleviate hives itching.

This medication does not prevent hives or treat a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

No side effects are known to associate with this allergy medicine while pregnant. It is rare for this drug to cause a severe allergic reaction.

However, you may notice any symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, including severe dizziness, itching/swelling of the face/tongue/throat, breathing problems, and rash.

This drug usually has no side effects. Loratadine rarely causes drowsiness when taken at recommended doses. However, you should not drive, operate machinery, or engage in any activity that requires alertness until you are sure it is safe.

Pregnant women should only take this allergy medication if it is clearly necessary.

Contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly if you have any unusual effects or are concerned about the risks and benefits.

Cetirizine (Zyrtec)

Cetirizine allergy medicine is an antihistamine that helps relieve allergy symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes, itching eyes/nose, and sneezing, hives.

Your body produces histamine when it reacts to an allergen, and this medication blocks it.

Cetirizine won’t prevent hives or treat a severe allergic reaction (like anaphylaxis).

You may also notice the effects of tiredness, dry mouth, and drowsiness, but these can’t affect your unborn child when taken in the recommended dosage.

Fexofenadine (Allegra)

Fexofenadine (Allegra) is another antihistamine that helps lessen allergy symptoms, including runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, itching eyes/nose,  hives.

The drug blocks a natural substance (histamine) produced by your body during an allergic reaction.

It is advisable to take this medicine with water and not fruit juices, which may decrease this drug absorption.

In addition, your doctor will determine the proper dosage based on your age, response to treatment, medical condition, and pregnancy state.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Diphenhydramine in Benadryl is an antihistamine for safely relieving allergy symptoms, the common cold, and hay fever in pregnant women.

Rashes, itching, watery eyes, itchy eyes/nose/throat, coughing, runny nose, and sneezing are some of the allergy symptoms.

Furthermore, it is used to treat motion sickness-related nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

In addition, diphenhydramine also aids in relaxation and sleep.

Like the allergy medicines above, diphenhydramine works by blocking histamine, a natural substance your body produces when you are allergic.

Moreover, this medication can dry up symptoms such as watery eyes and a runny nose by blocking acetylcholine (another natural substance the body produces).

Read further: Can You Take Benadryl While Pregnant?

While these oral allergy medicines will safely help relieve your allergies and the common cold, ensure not to exceed the recommended dosage. Also, do not use any of them for a prolonged period.

Like I earlier mentioned, if you have issues with the dosage or are not sure of the right safe allergy medicine while pregnant, see your gynecologist or healthcare provider.

Allergy Medicine While Pregnant- Nasal Sprays

Budesonide (Rhinocort)

Budesonide is used to treat seasonal and all-year allergy symptoms, including stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, itchiness of the eyes, nose, and throat.

The drug, Budesonide belongs to the corticosteroid class. This medication reduces swelling or inflammation in the nasal passages.

Mometasone (Nasonex)

Like Budesonide, Mometasone helps prevent and treat seasonal and all-year allergy symptoms like itching, stuffy/runny nose, and sneezing).

Additionally, you can use it to treat some growth in the nose (nasal polyps).

Mometasone is classified as a corticosteroid and works by reducing inflammation (swelling) in the nasal passages.

You spray the medication into each nostril once or twice a day or according to the doctor’s instructions. Make sure you do not spray this medication on your eyes.

Fluticasone (Flonase/Veramyst)

Fluticasone is also a corticosteroid and is used to treat the symptoms of allergies such as itchy red eyes, sneezing, stuffy or runny nose.

In addition, it is also effective in treating nasal polyps.

This medication belongs to a class of drugs called corticosteroids. Fluticasone works by reducing swelling (inflammation) in the nasal passages.

Before using this drug, blow your nose gently. Shake the container thoroughly before each use.

You should use this medication once a day in the nose as prescribed by your doctor or package. Refrain from spraying it into the eyes or mouth.

The three nasal sprays above function similarly in relieving nasal congestion, sneezing, and eye itchiness/redness.

Even though these are mild and safe to use allergy medicines during pregnancy, follow the instructions on the leaflets.

These may include dosage for pregnant women, duration, frequency.

Also, you will know if you will need to shake it before you. In addition, avoid the spray from entering your eyes and mouth. Furthermore, you may also need to blow your nostrils before applying the nasal spray gently.

These nasal sprays have similar benefits and risk profiles for both pregnant women and non-pregnant individuals.

Notwithstanding, see your OB-GYN or health provider to determine the right nasal spray and dosage for you.

How to Choose an Allergy Medicine While Pregnant

After you’ve identified which medications are safe to take, you need to determine which ones are effective for you.

If you suffer from chronic or environmental allergies (like mould or pet dander), you may want to consider an antihistamine to take every day, such as Zyrtec or Claritin.

You can also treat seasonal allergies with this method, but Benadryl is a good, super-safe option if your symptoms are rare.

However, Benadryl may cause you to become extremely drowsy. Therefore, apply caution when you take it.

If you are unsure how Benadryl will affect you, don’t take it before driving or operating a machine. Does it make you sleepy? Use it in the evening before going to bed. It may even improve your sleep!

If you experience pressure or sinus pain during allergies, one of the nasal steroid sprays is an ideal choice.

Pregnant women often experience excess nasal congestion due to increased fluid and blood volume. This can cause swelling throughout the body, not only in the ankles. Therefore, a nasal steroid can alleviate some of those additional symptoms.

Allergy Medicine While Pregnant: Medications to Avoid during Pregnancy

Although most antihistamines are safe to use during pregnancy, some other allergy medications may not.

Combination Allergy Formulas

Moms-to-be should be cautious of combination allergy formulas that have some ingredients unsafe to take during pregnancy, such as aspirin and other NSAIDs, and some expectorants or cough suppressants.

Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)

According to most medical experts, you should avoid allergy medications that contain decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) unless your doctor or midwife has approved them.

In addition, decongestants rarely cause problems for the fetus, but they may increase blood pressure in some individuals.

According to some research, pseudoephedrine may increase the risk of birth defects when taken during the first trimester, although only that risk has been identified so far.

Thus, Sudafed is only recommended for women in their second and third trimesters that do not have any history of hypertension (but only with a doctor’s approval).


Nasacort (triamcinolone) is a nasal steroid. However, it is not recommended for use while pregnant.

According to a review in the European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, this intranasal steroid spray used during pregnancy is the only one associated with a higher risk of respiratory birth defects.

Therefore, consider one of the other recommended sprays instead of Nasacort.

Astepro (azelastine hydrochloride)

You may also consider the steroid-free OTC nasal spray Astepro (azelastine hydrochloride) if your doctor approves.

People between the ages of six and up can use the medication to treat seasonal allergies and allergic rhinitis. There is no evidence that the medicine would harm pregnant women or their unborn children.

However, little data is available, and some studies on animals have suggested that exposure to large doses could harm offspring.

Eight Ways to Safely Manage Your Allergy Symptoms while Pregnant

1.   Try to avoid allergy triggers wherever possible.

The most common environmental allergens that cause allergy symptoms are mould, pollen, and animal dander. Avoiding these allergens is also a challenge.

Whenever possible, limit your exposure to things like these that trigger your allergies.

The best thing to do when pollen or pollution levels are high is to limit your outdoor time. For maximum protection, keep your windows shut and turn on your air conditioner or a fan.

If you find mould or animal dander indoors, you may want to open the windows (of course, when pollen and pollution levels are low outdoors).

2.   Use home remedies to treat mild symptoms.

Many women often experience nasal congestion during pregnancy. Sometimes, home humidifiers can relieve this problem.

Although it will not eliminate allergens from the environment, home humidifiers will moisten the air. Hence, this can ease your irritated nasal passages.

In addition, you can use salt water or saline nasal spray to relieve your congestion.

Other home remedies you can use in place of allergy medications while pregnant are:

  • Raw honey
  • The Neti Pot
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Diet change
  • Acupuncture

3.   Carefully select OTC allergy medications

Healthcare providers do not recommend many allergy medicines during pregnancy.

However, the over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines loratadine (in Claritin) and cetirizine (in Zyrtec and Alleroff) are both considered safe to take while pregnant or nursing.

These antihistamine medications function by blocking histamine effects, which is a trigger for allergy symptoms.

In addition, they are first-line drugs for allergies in pregnant women.

4.   Use an intranasal steroid spray.

Despite being unable to relieve your allergies with OTC allergy drugs, there is still hope for allergy sufferers. Try Nasonex® or Flonase®, intranasal steroid sprays.

Doctors say it is safe to use these sprays throughout pregnancy, and the standard dosage is still appropriate.

5.   Be careful with pseudoephedrine, allergy shots, and herbal remedies

You can continue allergy shots if you received them before pregnancy and felt they helped your symptoms. However, due to the uncertainty of your reaction, you shouldn’t start allergy shots during your pregnancy.

In general, expectant mothers want to know if they can take decongestants or pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). Your doctor recommends avoiding it in your first trimester. You may take it during the second or third trimester if you don’t have high blood pressure.

On the other hand, herbal remedies and aromatherapy effects on pregnant women are yet to undergo thorough studies. Therefore, avoid these allergy medicines while pregnant.

6.   Physical activity

Doing an exercise or anything that keeps you active during the day can help to lessen nasal inflammation.

7.   Elevate your bed head

Raising the head of your bed or increasing your pillow by 30 to 45 degrees might help ease allergy symptoms.

8.   Don’t lose hope

When you don’t get much relief after trying treatment options, remind yourself that you are only experiencing a temporary problem. Both your pregnancy and seasonal allergy symptoms won’t last forever.

Eventually, you will be glad you chose the right path for your child.

Safe Allergy Medicine While Pregnant Summary

When pregnant, what you take into your body is very important to reduce any complications.

While struggling with allergy symptoms may seem inevitable, ensure not to practice self-medication. Instead, reach out for help from a health practitioner like a pharmacist, midwife, or an OB/GYN, if you consider taking an allergy medicine while pregnant.

They would help evaluate the risk factors and benefits and the right drug based on your medical condition.

The doctor may prescribe an oral antihistamine for mild allergy symptoms like loratadine (Claritin, Alavert) or cetirizine (Zyrtec).

When the allergy symptoms are moderate or severe, your healthcare provider may recommend an oral antihistamine along with a nonprescription corticosteroid spray at the lowest effective dose.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Safe Allergy Medicine While Pregnant

What allergy medicine is safe during pregnancy?

Many allergy medicines are safe to continue taking during pregnancy, but you should discuss them with your healthcare provider beforehand to be sure.

Oral antihistamines, including diphenhydramine (Benadryl), cetirizine (Zyrtec), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), loratadine (Claritin), and fexofenadine (Allegra), seem to be safe.

Can pregnancy worsen allergies?

Around one-third of expectant moms find that their allergy symptoms worsen during pregnancy.

On the other hand, another one-third of allergy sufferers experience the same symptoms.

Moreover, another third find they get better from their allergies when pregnant.

Can you take Claritin and Benadryl?

Taking Claritin and Benadryl together is not recommended.

Combining them can increase the risk of adverse effects since they have similar side effects.

Claritin has a long half-life, so taking Benadryl 12 hours after Claritin may not be a safe idea.

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