Allergies during Pregnancy

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Allergy medicine during pregnancy?

Jan 2005

I have severe seasonal allergies - im basically non-functional during the spring months without medicine. I have taken allegra in the past and have found that it works great for me. However, now I am 22 weeks pregnant (our baby is due in June) and am concerned about taking prescription medicine while pregnant. My doctor has assured me that its fine, but i dont fully trust this opinion. In the past, i have tried a couple homeopathic options including nettle leaf pills and accupuncture and they have not been effective. I have been extremeley careful throughout my pregnancy and have not taken any medicines at all. Are there others who know any information about this or who have experience with this? How have other pregnant and allergic moms-to- be gotten through this? I would appreciate any info because im dreading the coming spring months! genevieve Nice source from Canadian public health authorities re drugs in pregnancy. Lisa

I also have very severe allergies. My doctor told me to stay away from Allegra, but said Claritin is OK - you can get Claritin (or the equivalent) OTC at Costco. Currently pregnant with my second, I use it when I need to. With my first pregnancy, though, I didn't take any oral medication but I did use Flonase once a day (instead of twice) and it worked better than anything else I've tried. There's little research on it, but I felt safer with it since it was a localized spray. Colleen

I had this problem. When I was about 17-18 weeks along in my last pregnancy, the Acacia trees bloomed early and heavily, which meant I was in agony -- I couldn't breathe. I was totally cloudy from the congestion, and my eyes burned. ! ; I mentioned this to my doctor, and I had concerns over taking allergy medicines, but she said it's not particularly good for the baby either if I can't breathe or sleep. So, we looked into my favorite allergy medicine -- Allegra. Allegra was a category ''C'' teratogen (meaning, I think, that there was no clear evidence that it would harm a human fetus, but there hadn't been sufficient studies, or something...) Zyrtec was a category B, which was safer, so I took that one. Later on I took small doses of Sudafed. There was some evidence that after the first trimester it was relatively safe - - some evidence of temporarily elevated heart rates in a fetus, inconclusive data. But I just couldn't breathe at all, or function. The baby was born healthy and has suffered no visible effects, and she's almost 2 now, so it worked out fine for me. Hope this helps! Stacey

hello fellow allergy sufferer! I too heard that allegra, claratin, etc. were perfectly safe during pregnancy but I was still reluctant to take anything. luckily acupuncture worked for me. how about a nasal spray like flonase or nasalcrom? the netty pot to keep your sinuses drained/cleaned? good luck my friend. virginia

I had allergies compounded by severe pregnancy-induced nasal congestion during my first pregnancy. My OBGyn sent me to my internist, who prescribed Flo-nase. He said it would not affect the baby during the middle trimester but that I should wean myself down to every other day and then less in my last trimester--which is what I did. It was a life-saver. I just could not breathe without som! e help. Other than that, I was attempting to go through my pregnancy with no medication and had weaned myself from caffeine. But it was hell not being able to breathe, and I'm very glad that I sought help. The Flo-nase worked very well. The last trimester was a bit difficult, but I survived. I do not believe that my son was affected by it at all. (The very odd thing is that, with my son's birth, my allergies temporarily disappeared. They came back when my daughter was born three years later. But I didn't need any medication during my second pregnancy.) Gwynne

i also have been an allegra 'addict' for years and was concerned that i wouldn't survive without it. i have (had) seasonal allergies, including molds and acacia in winter, since my teen years. Much to my great surprise, i really didn't, and still don't, need the allegra. the pregnancy changed something in me, i just don't suffer as much. maybe that was luck. i found that the only antihistamine rated class B for pregnancy is benedryl, so i took that at night only when i really needed something. i took steamy showers and used saline nasal spray to keep my sinuses clean. saline spray ! is amazing - its our whole family's first line of defense now. congratulations and good luck. anon

I can certainly empathize with your situation. I was also pregnant and due in the summer (late July 2004). Like you, I was dreading the spring months due to my allergies. Before I was pregnant, I took clarinex and used a nasal spray every day during the allergy season. I was reluctant to take any medications during pregnancy and went without them. The first few weeks were tough. I went to work with watery eyes, runny nose, constant sneezing, and a tickle in my throat. Luckily, the symptoms only lasted for a few weeks. Amazingly, pregnancy must have brought about some positive changes to my body. After several weeks, the symptoms vanished. After I gave birth (7-28-04), my allergy symptoms did not return. Since I am unfamiliar with alternative forms of treatment for allergies, I am unable to offer any advice in this matter. But I thought it might be helpful to share my experience with you. Cross your fingers and hope for the best. In the end, it will be all worth it. Annie

Try to use an Alkalol nasal irrigation - it sounds gross but it's know to cut down on allergies etc. My ENT recommended it. You can get it at any pharmacy (Safeway on Broadway can order it) Google on Alkalol and you get some description on how to use it. Steff

Hi there. Sister, do I feel for you. As if carrying around 30+ extra pounds isn't hard enough, to have to have itchy, watery eyes, sneezy, runny nose, scratchy throat. Ugh! I was still living on the East Coast when pregnant and always had awful seasonal allergies there. The only thing that ever worked for me was nasal steroids (vancanase). I took nothing for the first week or so but was miserable. Then I got sick from having all of that mucous in my system (the only time during my entire pregnancy that I threw up). Desperate, I asked my midwife if the! nasal steroids would be safe. She's a homebirth midwife, whose pretty adament about keeping things totally natural (she doesn't even like ultrasounds). Her opinion was that since the nasal steroids are localized, they are a safe option for someone who can not function without some sort of allergy medication. She felt it was better for me to address my allergies than to continue to lose sleep and throw up. I was able to get away with a lower dose than recommended but it still worked. My daughter was more than 9 lbs when born, healthy and alert so I see no side affects from the nasal steroids. Whatever you choose to do, I wish you a healthy and sneeze-free remainder of your pregnancy. Good luck! missng the snow but not the ragweed