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What To Do About Allergies When Pregnant

Some Antihistamines Are Safe

Pregnancy and Allergies

Antihistamines are one of the most popular allergy medications on the market. Some of them are safe for pregnant women to consume, including Benadryl and Claritin. Some doctors recommend avoiding Claritin until after the first trimester is over, though.

Other antihistamines like;Chlor-Trimeton and triprolidine are generally considered safe to use. However, most doctors will recommend alternatives just to be extra cautious and avoid any negative side effects.

Treating Allergies During Pregnancy

As with any illness or condition that occurs while you’re pregnant, the goal of treatment is to maintain the health of both mother and baby. About half of all pregnant people take an OTC or prescription medication during pregnancy. Not all medications are safe to take while pregnant. The key is to weigh the risks against the benefits.

The good news is that environmental allergies, like seasonal and pet allergies, pose no risk to your developing fetus. But if allergy symptoms are driving you crazy, your doctor may recommend a few treatment options to help minimize your discomfort.

Whats The Connection Between Allergies And Pregnancy

Posted on by North Georgia Women’s Center

Youre already dealing with aches, pains, and what feels like worlds smallest bladder. Now add in sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose and youve got a perfect pregnancy!;

or maybe you sense the sarcasm there. But, is there an actual connection between your pregnancy and allergies?

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Can Pregnancy Affect Allergies

Allergies can go either way when youre pregnant.

A third of women with allergies experience relief from their symptoms when they are pregnant.

Unfortunately, one-fifth to a quarter of pregnant women experience allergies anyway. And of those with allergies, one third will experience worse symptoms than usual.

Because of how pregnancy affects your body, you may feel as though your allergy symptoms are worse. Symptoms may also just feel worse because of how they combine with pregnancy symptoms.

What Is Hay Fever

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Hay fever is a common condition that affects nearly 1 in every 5 people in Australia. Hay fever is also known as allergic rhinitis, and is often simply called ‘allergies’. Symptoms of hay fever include an itchy, runny or blocked nose, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes.

Despite its name, hay fever is not necessarily triggered by hay and does not cause a fever.

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Allergies Vs Normal Pregnancy Symptoms

Pregnancy can do some weird things to your bodyincluding stuff up your noseso it can be tough to know if youre dealing with allergies or pregnancy-related symptoms. Still, there are a few clues.

Allergies usually involve congestion, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes. They can be distinguished from respiratory infections because they do not cause fever, or make the individual feel sick, says Jonathan Schaffir, MD, an ob-gyn at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. But pregnancy can sometimes increase congestion of the blood vessels in your sinuses because of the extra fluid that circulates in your body when youre pregnant, and this can cause a stuffy your nose, he says. The condition is called pregnancy rhinitis, and it can last your whole pregnancy, Kleva says. Allergies would feel different because there is usually a trigger, with the symptoms going away when the trigger is removed, and also are usually accompanied by sneezing and red eyes, Shaffir says.

What Am I Allergic To

Its never simple to work out what you are having an allergic reaction to because people can experience allergic reactions to anything.

Thankfully, you are more likely to suffer one of the most common allergies. Because of the way our immune systems work, these allergies are the most common of all:

  • Grass And Tree Pollen: Also known as hay fever, you are reacting to the pollen released by grass and tree plants.
  • General Pollen: Can be confused for hay fever, but you will react to normal flowers too.
  • Dust Mites: These little invisible bugs live in dirty and dusty spaces and can cause all sorts of allergic reactions.
  • Animals: You are just as likely to be allergic to any animal, but because people keep dogs and cats, you are more likely to notice if you have a dog or cat allergy.
  • Foods: Nuts of all kinds, all sorts of fruits, shellfish of all kinds, eggs, and the proteins in cows milk can all cause reactions, not just when you eat them, but even when you touch them.
  • Insects: Some insect bites and stings, such as bee stings, can cause massive overreactions in your immune system.
  • Medications: You are more likely to be allergic to aspirin, ibuprofen, and antibiotics than any other medication.
  • Latex: Things like latex gloves or condoms may trigger latex allergies, which are very common.
  • Mold Spores: A bit like tree pollen, mold releases spores into the air to reproduce. Many people are allergic to them.
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    Can I Continue My Allergy Shots During Pregnancy

    If your case of allergy is severe and only treatable through shots, it is appropriate to continue them during the pregnancy. However, it can be discontinued if there is any adverse allergic reaction to it. There are no pieces of evidence of any allergy or effect of these shots on the newborn so far.

    While allergies are common across all age groups, it is advisable to be extra cautious about any allergies when pregnant, to avoid any adverse effect on the foetus.

    How Is Pregnancy Rhinitis Diagnosed

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    Pregnancy rhinitis should be distinguished from other conditions such as infections, and your doctor can do this during a routine visit. X-rays and blood tests are usually not required to diagnose pregnancy rhinitis.

    Pregnancy rhinitis should not cause significant breathing problems. If you feel you cant get enough air, your chest feels very tight, you are breathless or feel like youre being suffocated it might be a sign of a medical problem.

    If you have unexplained breathing problems, especially if they are severe and come on quickly, call triple zero for an ambulance.

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    Seasonal Allergies Are Common Illnesses That Can Result In Serious Complications During Pregnancy

    Many pregnant women suffer from springtime allergies. Symptoms of seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis can include nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and swollen, red, itching, or watery eyes. Below is important information from your womens health clinic about the use of various seasonal allergy treatments during pregnancy.

    Safe Interventions For Rhinitis During Pregnancy

    Nonprescription products and devices for nasal problems during pregnancy can be divided into two groups. The first group does not carry any precaution for patients who are pregnant. These will be considered first.

    There are some interventions for rhinitis during pregnancy that the pharmacist can suggest.1,3 Pharmacists can reassure patients that the condition is temporary and will resolve after delivery. They can also mention several interventions that will help rhinitis and nasal congestion regardless of cause, such as controlling the environment and avoiding allergens.

    Lying in the supine position is widely known to increase nasal resistance to the passage of air. Thus, the pregnant patient can be advised to raise the head of the bed at least 30 degrees, and perhaps as much as 45 degrees to obtain greater patency of the nostrils. She may also be advised to engage in light-to-moderate exercise, an activity that also opens the nasal passages.

    Saline lavage may provide some relief for allergic or pregnancy rhinitis, and one expert advises either gently sniffing homemade saline from a cupped hand or using products such as neti pots to administer saline.1 Unfortunately, neither of these methods uses sterile saline, which would be preferable.6

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    Can You Get Allergies During Pregnancy

    Yes, you can get allergies while you’re pregnant, sometimes for the first time and certainly if you have a history of them. Allergies are very common in pregnancy, and not all women who experience them are long-term allergy sufferers. Many women with no known prior allergies only complain of their symptoms during pregnancy.

    How Common Are Allergies During Pregnancy

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    The true source of allergies resides with your immune system. Usually, when your body encounters a disease, your immune system launches into action. But that immune response can cause certain symptoms within your body. When you come down with a common cold, for example, it?s your immune responsenot the viruswhich causes your runny nose and cough.

    When you have an allergic reaction to something, it?s because your body has identified that allergen as a hazard. So your immune system goes into defense mode. Allergic reactions can occur when the allergen is experienced through skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation. Common allergens include pollen, pet dander, shellfish, and bee stings.

    For pregnant women, allergies during pregnancy are particularly common, even among individuals who have not suffered from long-term allergies in the past. In other words, you can sometimes develop new allergies during pregnancy. In other cases, allergies that were already present may become worse. Usually, the novel allergies will subside after your child is born, so most of these allergy-related changes are temporary. Conversely, some allergies improve with the reduced immune response.

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    How To Manage Allergies During Pregnancy

    If youre dealing with allergies during your pregnancy, you likely have questions about how to cope. You might be wondering if you can take allergy medicine while pregnant, for example, or what to take for allergies that wont harm your baby.

    Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when managing pregnant allergy symptoms:

    Can I Have Allergy Tests To Make Sure

    If you have symptoms of allergies during pregnancy, you should get tested to determine what might be causing them and the right treatment.

    The test performed is known as RAST. It is considered safe for both the baby and the mother. The test involves taking a small amount of blood and using the sample to test for about 20 allergens. You will be able to get the results in a few days. Most insurers cover the procedure unless otherwise stated in your policy.

    To conduct the test, shallow scratches are made on the forearm using a needle. The scratches are then exposed to potential allergens to determine which of them you are allergic to. The test site will become swollen and red if you are allergic to a certain substance. There is only a slight chance for pregnant women who go through this procedure to get adverse reactions such as shortness of breath and hives.

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    Can I Use A Nasal Spray During Pregnancy

    Some nasal sprays are safer than others. The good thing about nasal sprays is that the drug focuses primarily on the nose. It does not travel throughout the rest of the body.

    Corticosteroid nasal sprays are mostly safe. They are prescribed to pregnant women with moderate to severe allergy symptoms that last longer than a few days. Budesonide is considered the safest. Mometasone and fluticasone are also considered safe.

    Pregnant women should avoid antihistamine nasal sprays, as there is not enough research to prove their safety.

    Always talk with your doctor about which nasal spray medication is right for you, as well as any medication risks to you and your baby.

    How Soon Do Early Pregnancy Symptoms Start

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    Some women may experience early signs and symptoms within the first weeks of pregnancy in the first trimester, while others may develop symptoms later on in the pregnancy. The first signs and symptoms of early pregnancy can also be similar to symptoms experienced prior to the menstrual period, so a woman may not recognize the symptoms as related to pregnancy.

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    Is There An Impact On My Unborn Baby

    Many women with pregnancy rhinitis deliver healthy babies. However, any condition that reduces a pregnant mothers sleep has the potential to impact on her baby. Symptoms of pregnancy rhinitis are especially felt at night, making it difficult to fall asleep, causing women to wake up frequently through the night and be sleepy during the day. Breathing through the mouth due to a blocked nose may increase the likelihood of airway infections.

    There are insufficient studies to fully understand the impact of these on the growth and development of unborn babies. If you are concerned about your sleep or breathing during pregnancy, speak to your doctor to find the best way to clear your breathing passages and get proper sleep.

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    What Medicines Can I Take For Allergies During Pregnancy

    Women should be very cautious when taking medications during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.

    Its important to talk with a doctor before using allergy medicine while pregnant. Work together to find an appropriate balance for the medication and symptom control.

    Your doctor may first recommend ways to reduce symptoms that dont involve medications. Strategies include allergy proofing your home, avoiding allergy triggers, or using a saline nasal spray, nasal irrigation or nasal strips.

    • Oral antihistamines treat nasal and eye allergy symptoms of allergic rhinitis. It is best to take them after the first trimester.
    • Loratadine and cetirizine are second-generation oral antihistamines. They are considered safe for pregnancy, according to multiple studies. They do not cause drowsiness unlike first-generation oral antihistamines .

    Avoid using antihistamines combined with a decongestant during pregnancy. Research is ongoing on the impact of these medications to mom and baby.

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    Choosing Therapy For Nasal Problems During Pregnancy

    Physicians advise their colleagues on appropriate therapy of nasal problems during pregnancy in such journals as the American Journal of Rhinology. In one such article, an author placed medical interventions for allergic rhinitis during pregnancy into two tiers.7 Those on the first tier included intranasal cromolyn, intranasal corticosteroids, and first-generation antihistamines. Drugs relegated to the second tier included decongestants and second-generation antihistamines. It should be noted that no nonprescription product carries an indication for pregnancy rhinitis.;

    Mast Cell Stabilizer:Intranasal cromolyn is FDA Pregnancy Category B for pregnant patients.4 It may be recommended as a first-line agent by the physician for relief of rhinorrhea, sneezing, and nasal itching of allergic rhinitis.7;

    Intranasal Corticosteroids:The sole nonprescription intranasal corticosteroid is triamcinolone acetonide . As a Category C product in pregnancy, risk cannot be ruled out, and pregnant patients were never included in any of the studies on its efficacy and safety.1 While potential benefit may justify the potential risk to the fetus, this would be a decision best left to the obstetrician. The ingredient relieves nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, nasal pruritus, and sneezing associated with hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies.

    Howpregnancy Affects Allergies And Asthma

    What Allergy Medications are Safe During Pregnancy ...

    Seasonalallergies occur when the bodys immune system overreacts to certain otherwisecommon environmental substances, such as pollen and dust. When people withallergies breathe in such a substance which for them is an allergen theirbodies see it as a foreign invader and mounts an immune response. When thishappens, the body produces multiple inflammatory chemicals which can causeclassic allergic reactions, such as:

    Inflammation and swellingof the sinuses

    Itchy, watery eyes

    Sore, itchy throat

    Runny nose

    Antihistaminesand saline nasal spray can help can help control mild symptoms, while moderateto severe allergies require other therapies, such as nasal steroid sprays.

    Asthma and seasonalallergy symptoms may worsen, improve, or remain unchanged during pregnancy. Wecant predict exactly how a pregnant womans body and hormonal changes alter how the immunesystem reacts to foreign substances. For example, pregnancy induces swelling of the nasal mucosa, the innerlining of the nose. Inflammation can lead to pregnancy rhinitis, or nasalcongestion and a runny nose during pregnancy.;Although the cause ofpregnancy rhinitis is related to hormone production and not allergens, thiscondition may make pre-existing seasonal allergy symptoms worse. Together,these symptoms can make someone pretty miserable and impact nutrition, stress,sleep, and general comfort.

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    Higher Sex Hormones = Natural Steroids

    On one hand, during pregnancy hormones spike, of course. All of the sex hormones are steroid hormones, meaning they cause immune system suppression. For this reason, during pregnancy, many autoimmune conditions; tend to improve so youd think allergies would too. After all, the fastest way to quench an allergic response is with steroids.

    How Pregnancy Affects Your Allergies

    If youve noticed a change in your allergic symptoms or reactions since youve been pregnant, youre not alone. Its not uncommon for expectant mums to experience either an increase or reduction in symptoms. This is thought to be due to changing hormone levels. If your symptoms increase, you should speak to your GP. Otherwise, remember to let your midwife know about your allergies at your first meeting, known as the booking appointment, so they can be added to your pregnancy notes.

    If you’re concerned that you may not be getting the right nutrition, you can ask your GP to refer you to a dietitian

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    Are Allergies Worse When Pregnant

    Depending on who you ask, you may get varying answers here. Someone who is experiencing a difficult pregnancy may say that theyre absolutely worse, but in most cases the two things are completely unrelated. The most common issue seems to be that people didnt realize their allergies were as aggressive until after they were pregnant, making it seem like theyve just gotten worse. In reality, theyve stayed the same, you just have a little bit more to worry about in addition to a sniffly nose!

    Where Can Allergies Occur

    How to Treat Allergies While Pregnant

    An allergy can potentially cause certain symptoms in the following body parts and areas:

    • Skin resulting in eczema, or hives .
    • Nose and/or eyes, resulting in allergic rhinitis and/or conjunctivitis.
    • Lungs resulting in asthma.
    • Anaphylactic shock affecting many body organs and potentially leading to serious illness or death

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    Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy

    Normal vaginal secretions increase during pregnancy due to greater blood supply and hormones. Normal vaginal discharge is white or clear, isnt irritating, is odorless, and may look yellow when dry on your underwear or panty liners.


    • Wear low-heeled shoes.
    • Avoid lifting heavy objects.
    • Squat down with your knees bent when picking things up instead of bending down at the waist.
    • Dont stand on your feet for long periods. If you need to stand for long periods, place one foot on a stool or box for support.
    • Sit in a chair with good back support, or place a small pillow behind your lower back. Also, place your feet on a footrest or stool.
    • Check that your bed is firm. If needed, put a board between the mattress and box spring.
    • Sleep on your left side with a pillow between your legs for support.
    • Apply a hot water bottle or heating pad on low setting to your back, take a warm bath or shower, or try massage.
    • Perform exercises, as advised by your health care provider, to make your back muscles stronger and help relieve the soreness.
    • Maintain good posture. Standing up straight will ease the strain on your back.
    • Contact your health care provider if you have a low backache that goes around your stomach and does not go away within one hour after you change position or rest. This might be a sign of premature labor.



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