How to Manage Allergies and Asthma While You’re Pregnant

Manage Allergies and Asthma While Pregnant - Large

Sail through your pregnancy with ease, even with asthma or allergies.

For starters, be sure to tell your doctor if you have allergies or asthma. Your symptoms during pregnancy can vary. Some women find that their symptoms are worse. For others, they will remain unchanged, or actually improve.

While it’s important to control asthma and allergies at all times, it’s especially important when you’re pregnant — and breathing for two. It’s also possible to develop allergies for the first time while pregnant.

Is It Safe to Take Allergy Medications?

In the vast majority of cases, the answer is yes. It’s safe to continue taking your allergy medications the same way you were before you got pregnant. It’s always wise to check with your doctor about medication use, and rarely is it necessary to discontinue allergy medications.

Manage Allergies and Asthma While Pregnant - In ContentAntihistamines may be useful to treat nasal and eye symptoms caused by various allergies. As always, talk with your doctor or allergist to help you weigh the benefits against any possible risk to your baby. To ease your allergy symptoms, consider these options:

  • Chlorpheniramine (ChlorTrimeton®) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) have been around for years and used safely during pregnancy. Most doctors recommend chlorpheniramine, but keep in mind that both medications can make you sleepy or affect your ability to function. Recent popular choices that are less sedating are the antihistamines loratadine (Claritin®) and cetirizine (Zyrtec®).
  • Decongestants, including nasal sprays like Afrin® and Neo-Synephrine® Long-Acting (officially known as oxymetazoline), are safest as they aren’t absorbed into your blood stream. The challenge is that these and other over-the-counter nasal sprays can cause what is called rebound congestion and actually make your condition worse.
  • Pseudophedrine (Sudafed®) may result a slight increase in abdominal wall defects in newborns, and is best avoided during pregnancy.
  • Corticosteroid nasal sprays are an effective option if your runny nose and congestion are really bothering you and last for more than a few days. But you’ll want to talk it over with your doctor first as there aren’t many studies on their use during pregnancy.

What About Allergy Shots and Flu Vaccines?

Allergen immunotherapy, otherwise known as allergy shots, can make a big difference if nothing else helps to ease your symptoms. It’s also a good idea to stay on track with your allergy shots while you’re pregnant as long as you’re not having any bad reaction to them.

It’s also possible to develop allergies for the first time while pregnant.

And go ahead and get your flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control recommend it for all patients — and there’s no evidence of any risks to you or your baby. If you have moderate or severe asthma, it’s especially important to avoid the flu — and a flu shot is your best defense.

Small Steps: Let the Testing Begin!
Healthy pregnancy starts with first trimester ultrasound, blood tests.