Understanding Drug Labels When You’re Pregnant
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s prescription drug labeling system offers detailed summaries of a drug’s effects on pregnancy, lactation and “reproductive potential” . This label helps moms-to-be and nursing moms better understand the effects of a drug they’re taking after a doc prescribes it.
- The “pregnancy” section outlines the likelihood and seriousness of developmental abnormalities from exposure to a drug when it should be prescribed side effects clinical trial data directions for use during labor and delivery and alternative treatments, if applicable.
- The “lactation” section includes how much of the drug is secreted in breast milk an estimate of how much an infant will consume as a result of mom taking the drug data on the effects of a baby’s exposure to the drug and how to minimize an infant’s exposure.
- The “reproductive potential” section explains any effects the drug might have on contraception pregnancy testing and infertility while and after you’re taking it and additional precautions to take.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
How To Safely Treat Allergies During Pregnancy
While it would be best to avoid allergens that bother you, thats not always a possibility. Many 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 able 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 dont do the trick, and you need something stronger to ease your misery. 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. Luk says. Some nasal spray options include Rhinocort Allergy, Flonase, and Nasonex.
For oral antihistamines, Staunton says she recommends Claritin or Zyrtec because of their good safety history. Both are rated pregnancy category B by the FDA. This means that controlled studies in animals have shown no adverse effects to the developing fetus.
Benadryl 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.
How To Tell Which Medications Are Safe During Pregnancy
” is a category B medication, which means no evidence of risk in human pregnancies is known,” says Rac.
“B” is one of the five categories created by the US Food and Drug Administration to classify medications according to the risk they pose to a developing fetus. While drugs in categories A and B are safe, those in D and X should be avoided.
But most medications fall into the gray area of category C neither clearly safe nor harmful. In these cases, the benefits may outweigh the risks. “This should be a conversation between you and your obstetrician,” she says.
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Allergy Medicine While Pregnant
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 .
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 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 wont prevent hives or treat a severe allergic reaction .
The drug blocks a natural substance produced by your body during an allergic reaction.
What Could Be The Side Effects Of Benadryl During Pregnancy
Benadryl is not linked to any birth defects. But when taken in excess, it could put the mother at risk.
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Diphenhydramine Pregnancy And Breastfeeding Warnings
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 29, 2020.
Diphenhydramine is also known as: Alka-Seltzer Plus Allergy, Banophen, Benadryl, Benadryl Allergy, Benadryl Children’s Allergy, Buckley’s Bedtime, DPH, Dicopanol, Diphen, Diphenhist, Help I Can’t Sleep, Hydramine, Nervine, Nytol, Pharbedryl, Siladryl, Sleep, Sleep Tab II, Sleep Tabs, Sleep-Eze-3, Sleepinal, Sominex, Unisom SleepGels, Valu-Dryl, ZzzQuil
Is It Safe To Use Benadryl During Pregnancy
Pregnancy comes with many changes: hormonal, physical and emotional. These may lower your immunity and lead to allergies, colds, flu and other discomforts which can normally be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines. However, if you are pregnant, you need to take extra caution to minimize the risk of harming your unborn baby. Some medications may have adverse effects on your baby. In case you have an allergy in pregnancy, can you take Benadryl?
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How Much Benadryl Is Safe To Take During Pregnancy
The recommended oral dosage is 25mg to 50mg once in every four to six hours as suggested by the doctor .
Benadryl can sometimes lead to drowsiness or dizziness, so it is better to avoid activities such as driving, working with tools or machinery when you are on the medication. In any case, take the dosage prescribed by the doctor to stay safe.
How Fast Does Benadryl Work For Itching
Benadryl is quickly absorbed after oral administration and peak effects are reached within one hour. The effects of diphenhydramine last from four to six hours. Benadryl in the injectable form has a rapid onset of action. When used as a night-time sleeping aid, the usual dosage of Benadryl is 50mg at bedtime.
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Is It Safe To Take Benadryl In The First Trimester
The first trimester of pregnancy is crucial for pregnant women to be cautious. This exciting period before you begin showing is when a lot of the action unfolds quietly.
While your baby is only about three inches long by week 12, they will have virtually developed all their major organ systems the heart, brain, lungs, everything in the first trimester. As a result, the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are the riskiest. In the first trimester, your unborn child is most vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, illness, drugs, and medications.
Slone Centers Birth Defect Study interviewed nearly 51,000 mothers for about 40 years. It rated the safety of medications commonly used during pregnancy. A drugs highest rating is good, Its lowest is none. The study gave Diphenhydramine a very high passing rate of fair. For this reason, your Doctor will likely recommend only taking Benadryl, if necessary, during your first trimester of pregnancy. There is a possibility that this is related to reports from older studies that Benadryl could cause birth defects. Newer studies have not found this to be true.
Giving Diphenhydramine To Children
For cough and cold symptoms, you can give diphenhydramine tablets and liquid to children over the age of 6. For allergy symptoms, you can give it to children over 12. Check with your pharmacist or doctor to make sure a product is suitable for your child.
You can also use diphenhydramine cream on children for:
Important: Warning for children
Do not give your child diphenhydramine to help them get to sleep. Diphenhydramine is only suitable for sleep problems in people aged 16 years and above.
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Benadryl Products For Children
There is a variety of Benadryl allergy medications formulated for children aged 6 or over.
Products include Childrens Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy Liquid, Childrens Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion, Childrens Benadryl Chewables, and Childrens Benadryl Allergy Liquid. These are usually safe to give to children aged 6 and above.
Never give children any medications, including Benadryl, that are designed for adults. Dosages in adult medicines are higher than in childrens medicines, so giving adult dosages to children might lead to an overdose.
It is usually safe for children aged 12 onwards to take adult Benadryl products, but always check the directions on the labels.
Safety Of Antihistamines During Pregnancy
Although pruritus is not a life-threatening medical condition, it can be extremely troublesome for pregnant women. Because of potential effects on the fetus, the treatment of pruritus in pregnancy requires prudent consideration. At one point, the physician will have to use the antihistamines and weigh the benefits against the teratogenic effects of the antihistamines. Physicians must decide whether to select an older, better-studied antihistamine, thought to be relatively safe during pregnancy, or a newer agent that has less adverse effect on quality of life but has a potential teratogenic effect.
Various recommendations and studies favor the use of first generation antihistamines for use during pregnancy. They point out that these antihistamines were in use for a longer period of time and were more widely used during pregnancy. More data are available about the various effects of the first generation antihistamines in pregnancy. Moreover a few of the second generation agents have been reported to be associated with an increased incidence of certain congenital malformations.
In 1993, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Working Group on Asthma and Pregnancy recommended the first-generation agents chlorpheniramine and tripelennamine as the antihistamines of choice during pregnancy, based on duration of availability as well as reassuring animal and human data.
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Who May Not Be Able To Take Diphenhydramine
Diphenhydramine is not suitable for some people. To make sure it’s safe for you, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you:
- have ever had an allergic reaction to diphenhydramine or any other medicine
- have lung problems, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , or an illness that creates a lot of phlegm
- have an eye problem called primary angle closure glaucoma
- have a blockage in your stomach or gut
- have kidney or liver problems
- have problems peeing or emptying your bladder
- have epilepsy or any other health problem that causes fits
- are due to have an allergy test â diphenhydramine can affect your results, so you may need to stop taking it a few days before your test â ask a pharmacist or your doctor for advice
- are unable to have any alcohol â some liquid diphenhydramine products contain a small amount of alcohol, so check the ingredients and the packaging carefully
Can You Take Antibiotics During Pregnancy
Antibiotics can be a literal lifesaver when they’re used to treat a bacterial infection. If your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic during pregnancy, it’s generally because the infection it’s treating is more dangerous than any potential side effects of taking the drug. If your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic, it will generally be in the penicillin or erythromycin family.
That said, antibiotics can also be overused when they’re not necessary, leading to antibiotic-resistant infections. A few things to remember:
Some research suggests that certain antibiotics may be linked to a higher risk of miscarriage and birth defects. This risk, however, is very low, and the illnesses the pregnant moms were being treated for could have been the cause for the miscarriages rather than the drugs themselves.
Remember that while it’s not wise to take antibiotics when they’re not warranted , they can be essential even lifesaving for your health and your baby’s. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics and you’re concerned, ask about the potential risks and benefits.
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Risk Of Major Malformations Associated With First Trimester Antihistamine Use
The 16 previously-hypothesized associations between specific major malformations and use of specific antihistamines were confined to the four most commonly-used agents diphenhydramine, loratadine, chlorpheniramine, and doxylamine. As reflected in Table 2, none of these associations had lower 95% CIs that excluded 1.0. However, some of the estimates were based on small numbers and the 95% CIs were very wide. For example, use of chlorpheniramine in relation to ear defects and spina bifida showed positive associations based on only 3 and 4 exposed cases, respectively. However, where cells included at least 5 exposed cases, none had adjusted estimates with upper CIs that exceeded 3.0.
Can I Use Benadryl Cream While Pregnant
Applying topical Benadryl cream during pregnancy is more promising when it comes to the safety of the fetus. When you use the cream on the skin, a majority of the cream stays in the skin layers. As the antihistamine does not enter circulation, it cannot reach the fetus. It is best to use Benadryl cream during pregnancy whenever possible.
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Should I Continue My Allergy Shots During Pregnancy
It is appropriate to continue allergy shots during pregnancy in women who are not having reactions to the shots, because they may lessen your allergic or asthma symptoms. There is no evidence that they have any influence on preventing allergies in the newborn. It is not generally recommended that allergy shots be started during pregnancy.
To summarize: It is extremely important to monitor closely any asthma or allergic problems during your pregnancy. In the vast majority of cases, you and your child can look forward to a good outcome, even if your asthma is severe, so long as you follow your doctorâs instructions carefully. At the very first signs of breathing difficulty, call your doctor.
Remember the danger of providing an inadequate supply of oxygen to your baby is a much greater risk than taking the commonly used asthma medications.
The best way to take control of your allergies and have a healthy pregnancy is to speak with an allergist.
This page was reviewed for accuracy 4/17/2018.
Which Allergy Medications Are Safe During Pregnancy
Can you take Benadryl while pregnant? What about Claitan? Heres the scoop on whats safe for pregnancy, so you dont have to suffer from a stuffy nose and itchy eyes in silence!
While many women report that their allergies improve or disappear during pregnancy, some still experience symptoms. If you’re among them, you should know that there plenty of ways to relieve symptoms both with and without medication.
Your best defense against allergy symptoms is to avoid the triggers that cause them. Of course, you can’t control what happens outside, but you can reduce your exposure in your home by wearing a mask when you dust or vacuum, keeping pets out of your bedroom, and protecting your mattress and pillows with special covers to keep out dust mites. Using a dehumidifier to keep the air in your home under 50 percent humidity can also help fend off mites and mold.
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Its always best to avoid taking any type of medication during pregnancy, if possible. That said, if allergies or nasal congestion due to upper-respiratory infection are keeping you from sleeping, eating, or participating fully in your life, your doctor is likely to consider Claritin to help you cope with your symptoms. Rest assured that after years of research on animals and humans, Claritin has been classified as safe to use during pregnancy. Antihistamines like Chlor-Trimeton and Benadryl are also deemed safe for pregnant women to take.
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Possible Rare Risks Associated With Benadryl
While Benadryl is considered safe to take during pregnancy, there may be potential risks in the first and third trimesters. There have been rare associations to birth defects such as cleft palate when taking Benadryl during the first trimester but further studies are needed. If Benadryl is taken in high doses in the third trimester, there could be a potential oxytocin effect from the medication which can lead to contractions . Therefore, Benadryl should be used cautiously and on a temporary, as-needed basis when pregnant. It should never be used for an extended period of time. Regardless, it is always advisable that you consult with your doctor prior to taking Benadryl.
Are Decongestants Safe During Pregnancy
Allergies plague many of us every year. In fact, one in five adults suffers from allergies. Allergens are often called hay fever, or Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, and the most common symptoms are sneezing, stuffiness, a runny nose, and itchiness in the mouth, throat, eyes, or ears. Allergies often do not stop when women become pregnant the question of whether the use of decongestants is safe during pregnancy is often an unclear answer to many women suffering from allergies.
Over-the-counter decongestants are, for the most part, safe during pregnancy, physicians advise. Most decongestants do not contain enough medication to cause problems with baby, especially if used for short periods. Nasal spray decongestants are even safer, since the medication is almost entirely absorbed within the nose and does not travel through the body. As a general rule, physicians advise patients that if they can buy it without visiting the pharmacy counter, short term use will not harm the baby during pregnancy.
Many health care providers recommend using medication that is considered a Category B drug, such as the decongestant Sudafed® or the antihistamine Claritin® when allergies strike. Category B drugs have been shown through animal testing to not harm an unborn baby when the mother takes the medication during pregnancy. If a runny nose is more of a problem than a congested one, antihistamines such as Diphenhydramine, Loratadine or Cetirizine are all safe to take during pregnancy.
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