Between nausea, fatigue, frequent urination and mood swings, pregnant people have it tough enough; pregnancy symptoms combined with allergies is just downright miserable. Below we review how allergies present during pregnancy and options for treatment.
Allergy Symptoms During Pregnancy
For those who normally have allergies and are pregnant, symptoms may be the same as usual or seem worse. Common symptoms include:
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Sinus pressure
- Itchy, watery eyes
Some people develop allergies for the first time during pregnancy; however, if you experience new allergy symptoms when pregnant, you’re more likely to be experiencing pregnancy rhinitis.
Pregnancy rhinitis describes allergy-like symptoms that aren’t actually due to an immune response, but rather fluctuating hormones. Because of this, pregnancy rhinitis symptoms usually don’t respond to antihistamines.
Treating Allergies During Pregnancy
Like with treating any condition during pregnancy, the goal is to relieve symptoms for the mother without harming the baby.
It’s important to talk to your doctor before taking any medications or supplements when pregnant or breastfeeding, as not all are safe. You and your doctor can weigh the risks versus the benefits.
- Older antihistamines like chlorpheniramine, dexchlorpheniramine and hydroxyzine are considered safe to take during pregnancy by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Newer antihistamines like Claritin and Zyrtec may also be safe.
- Decongestants should be avoided during pregnancy. Pseudoephedrine should be avoided during the first three months, as it has been linked to a risk of birth defects related to the abdominal wall.
- Medicated nasal sprays like Nasonex and Flonase are considered safe to treat severe congestion.
- Immunotherapy may be continued during pregnancy, but it is not recommended to start allergy shots during pregnancy. Many allergists will cut the dose of the allergy shot in half during pregnancy to lower risk of anaphylaxis.
Other Strategies to Manage Allergies
It’s possible to reduce allergy symptoms without taking medications. Follow our tips below:
- Practice avoidance of known allergies whenever possible, which may entail avoiding houses with pets and staying indoors when pollen counts are high.
- Using a humidifier can help soothe dry and irritated nasal passages.
- Installing a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter can help filter allergens out of the air in your home.
- Deep clean your home to remove dust, dander and other allergens.
To enjoy trips to Fairmount Park without suffering from allergy symptoms, call the allergy experts at Pinnacle ENT Associates today.