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Should Pregnant Women Take Allergy Meds?


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Allergies, especially seasonal allergies, are a pain to deal with. Pair that with pregnancy and you have a recipe for disaster. While you can reach for your standard allergy medication and get rid of the symptoms, with pregnancy, many complications surface.

Your choices of allergy treatment during pregnancy are quite limited. What kind of allergy medicine you can take is limited as well. Ideally, you must rely on safe compositions for the growing fetus inside you.

This article will walk you through all the safety precautions concerning allergy medication and pregnancy and how you can safely manage your skin and seasonal allergies.

Types of Allergy Meds and Pregnancy

Surprisingly enough, there are situations wherein pregnancy can worsen the symptoms of allergies in women with a previous history of the same.

One of the common pregnancy-related complications, pregnancy rhinitis, often mimics the symptoms of seasonal allergies, of which one needs to be aware.

This section of the article will explore some of the most common types of allergy medications and their safety standard with respect to one’s pregnancy.

Antihistamines and Pregnancy

Antihistamines are common drugs that inhibit the release of histamine in the body in response to an allergic reaction. Excess histamine helps flush the allergens out of the body but leads to the potent symptoms of sneezing, congestion, etc.

The use of antihistamines is generally considered safe during pregnancy. Antihistamines are classified as the B and C under the drug categories, deeming them safe to be taken during pregnancy.

Compositions like chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine have one of the longest records of being used as the first line of treatment in eliminating the symptoms of allergies.

Decongestants and Pregnancy

The next common group of medications that are fairly used for allergies is decongestants. They are responsible for relieving the stuffiness in the nose that makes it difficult to breathe freely.

How decongestants work is with vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in the nose. What this does is open up the nasal passage, making it comfortable to breathe through an allergic episode.

The use of decongestants during pregnancy isn’t as harmless as suggested since studies have found correlations between the administration of decongestants and the risks of congenital disabilities during pregnancy.

A few other associated complications between decongestants during pregnancy are associated with the incidence of Gastroschisis, small intestinal atresia, and hemifacial macrosomia.

Due to the conclusive research that depicts the risks of decongestants during the first trimester of pregnancy, it is ideal to avoid it during the early months of gestation.

It is always ideal to consult about the safety protocols and the associated risks with the healthcare provider before including any form of allergy medication.

Nasal Sprays and Pregnancy

When you think about allergies and the use of nasal spray, not many people will bat an eyelash thinking about the health risks unless they are made aware of the same.

It’s just a spray, right? Well, there are risks associated with nasal sprays during the peak of pregnancy.

Nasal sprays are no doubt fast-reacting, and they reduce a lot of the symptoms related to a blocked nose, runny nose, congestion, etc., that a person experiences during their allergic episodes.

Most of the types of nasal sprays that are available in the market are considered safe for use since they aren’t absorbed into the blood following their administration. However, there are a few exceptions that you need to look out for.

A few unsafe ones with toxic composition might get absorbed into the blood quite readily, causing harm to the developing fetus in the process.

Here’s a quick list of the composition and its impacts on pregnancy.

Composition Impacts on Pregnancy
Cromolyn No negative impacts
Ipratropium bromide Only when no other safe medications work
Fluticasone Potent side effects
Triamcinolone Potent side effects
Oxymetazoline Potent congenital disabilities in babies


Not just pregnancy, the impacts of certain nasal sprays are also quite potent during the breastfeeding period. So, limit your use of nasal spray as much as possible during pregnancy.

How is Pregnancy Rhinitis Different from Actual Allergies?

Sometimes, many pregnant women experience a condition called pregnancy rhinitis. The interesting fact about this condition is that it mimics the symptoms of allergies.

According to studies, around 26% of pregnant women experience pregnancy rhinitis. Some of the most potent symptoms include:

  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itching

Some of the most common reasons behind the onset of rhinitis during pregnancy is due to the excess secretion of hormones that trigger the mucus-producing glands in the body.

Also, the increased blood volume in the body during pregnancy can also lead to common signs of allergies like congestion and sneezing.

Typically, your doctor will start you on antihistamines to combat the “allergy-like” symptoms. However, if the medications don’t show tangible improvement, then it could be a sign of pregnancy rhinitis instead, which involves a different route of treatment.

Skin Allergies and Pregnancy

Pregnancy rashes aren’t a myth but an actual condition that several women are diagnosed with. Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy are two of the most common types of skin allergies that most pregnant women struggle with.

As the fetus grows, so does the pregnancy belly, which leads to stretch marks. Most of these skin rashes and allergies happen around the stretch marks.

Relying on medicine for skin allergy itching is a justifiable expectation. However, since most allergy medications aren’t safe for consumption during pregnancy, your doctor will likely stick to topical ointments to reduce the rashes and itching.

In some cases, your doctor might prescribe a low dose of antihistamines to prevent further deterioration of the skin rashes.

What are the Non-Drug Treatments for Allergies during Pregnancy?

If you seek medical consultation with allergy symptoms during your pregnancy, chances are that your OBGYN will initially suggest natural remedies or non-drug treatment options.

Some of them include:

  • Getting a humidifier to relieve the congestion in the nose and chest
  • Saline nasal sprays to relieve nasal congestion
  • Exercising to reduce nasal inflammation
  • Sleeping with extra sleep and keeping the head at an elevated angle
  • Acupuncture

Besides these, your healthcare provider will also prioritize the importance of preventing any allergy triggers that could set off the symptoms. So, listen to your doctor’s advice and follow their suggestions to ensure your pregnancy is safe, healthy, and comfortable.


What should I use for Skin Allergies during Pregnancy?

Topical skin allergy medicine is ideal for reducing the risks of rashes, hives, itching and irritation that most women experience during their pregnancy. In rare cases, your doctor might prescribe an antihistamine to reduce the recurrence of the allergy.

How can I treat Allergy during Pregnancy?

If you notice your allergy symptoms getting worse, the first line of treatment is to discuss the symptoms with your OBGYN. Avoid taking random over-the-counter medications without getting them checked by your doctor.

Can allergies cause a miscarriage?

There are no conclusive studies or scientific evidence that show a correlation between allergies and miscarriages in women. However, there are certain allergy medications, which aren’t safe during the pregnancy period.


Allergy treatment during pregnancy is limited and selective but not absent. Ideally, we’d always recommend that you seek out your doctor’s advice on the situation before you take any medication. Also, stick to non-drug treatments and home remedies since they are a lot safer compared to most drug-based allergy treatment options. We hope this article gives you a comprehensive understanding of allergy medication and its impacts on pregnancy. Make informed and safe choices for you and your baby.

Somapika Dutta (B.Sc Physiology, Honours)
Somapikar holds Bachelors Degree in Physiology from University of Culcutta. She has 6+ years of experience writing in different niches, including health, tech and lifestyle. An animal enthusiast and a raging foodie, experiencing life - one day at a time.


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