Ah, allergies. Unless you have them, very few people can appreciate how awful they can be. So if you need to take allergy medication during pregnancy you can imagine how uptight some people get about it and wonder why you don't just suffer through it. To these people I say, "suck my snot."
Not unlike cold medication, the trick here is to take medication that has been around a long time. Nobody has ever raised their hand and said, "use me and my unborn child as guinea pigs to test your fine medication, my good sir." so all the data has to be collected over years and years of medical findings to see if kids are growing seven belly buttons from a medication.
The ones that have been deemed low risk (no risk would be taking nothing and sitting in a puddle of snot) are Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and Loratadine (Claritin). Some sites say Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) is okay if you're out of your first trimester, but a few other sites say to stay away from it all together. I'm not sure if there is merit to this or they are just giving it the thumbs down on account of the first trimester iffyness.
Benadryl seems to be the across the board favourite as being a safe medication to for allergies when you're pregnant. It's been around since 1946 and it's a first-generation antihistamine. The downside to that is it will make you groggy because the newer drugs (second-generations) are the ones that have the non-drowsy formulas but they aren't as tried and true. It's a bit of kick in the ass because you're probably already tired but it may be a good night time option if you're just looking to get some sleep.
Another interesting tidbit I found is that many women are prescribed antihistamines for morning sickness. Who knew?
There are quite a few non-medical, natural remedies out there as well.
Neti pots are awesome plus Dr. Oz did a demo on Oprah with one – I mean, c'mon what the hell else do you need?! They are kind of freaky the first time you use them but I do find they are great for nasal congestion. As great as they are, if you're really stuffed up you'll still probably have to get out the big antihistamine guns.
As for nasal sprays, only saline nasal sprays have been given the thumbs up. Everybody gets really pissy about the good stuff like Otrivin – because even though they haven't be shown to cause birth defects, they haven't be shown not to either.
I couldn't find any herbal remedies that everyone could agree on which isn't surprising because of the lack of research behind most herbs.
At the end of the day, if you can handle your allergies by having a hot shower and blowing your nose, great. But if you're congested to the point where you think your head is going to roll off or you sound like Darth Vader when you're lying in bed, take something. I'm sure all parties involve would be happier if mamma could breathe and have a full night of sleep.
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