Can You Get Allergies While Pregnant? Learn More Here

Pregnancy is a time of both joy and worry. One of the things moms-to-be might be anxious about is allergies. If you already have allergies, you may wonder if pregnancy will worsen the symptoms. Or you might want to know if you can develop allergies during pregnancy and a host of other related concerns. Read on to learn more about allergies during pregnancy.

Developing Allergies During Pregnancy

You can develop allergies during pregnancy, for the very first time, or as flare-ups of previously existing allergies. There is limited research on what causes allergies for the first time during pregnancy. But one study suggests that exposure to cigarette smoke and antacid medication taken by pregnant women may result in allergies, specifically to food.1

Do Your Allergies Get Worse During Pregnancy?

There’s good news and bad news. According to medical experts,2 a third of women will have allergy symptoms clear up during their pregnancy. Another third will experience worse allergy symptoms. The remaining third will find no change in allergy symptoms compared to before the pregnancy.

In other words, your allergies might get worse, get better, or stay the same during pregnancy. It’s hard to predict exactly how hormonal and body changes in pregnancy might contribute to this.

Some pregnant women will also experience pregnancy rhinitis, or nasal congestion and/or runny nose due to swelling inside the nose.

While this is not caused by allergens and instead by pregnancy hormones, if you already suffer from allergies it could aggravate your symptoms.3 You could try using a humidifier in your home to help relieve the symptoms of pregnancy rhinitis.

Symptoms of Allergies During Pregnancy

Allergy symptoms during pregnancy are the same as when you’re not pregnant. They include itchy red eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. However, if you also develop pregnancy rhinitis, as explained previously, your allergy symptoms might intensify.

Luckily, you can still take allergy medication like antihistamines to manage the symptoms so that your allergies don’t affect your quality of life, particularly related to getting good sleep and nutrition.

Antihistamines are helpful in easing symptoms related to allergic rhinitis ( urticaria ) and conjunctivitis . They work by blocking the effects of the chemical histamine in the body, which triggers those irritating allergy symptoms. Antihistamines that have a less sedating effect, such as loratadine, are recommended by experts to be used by pregnant women, ideally after the first trimester.4

Try to avoid common triggers of allergic reactions like pollen , pet dander , dust, and mold as much as possible. When managing allergy symptoms while pregnant, you should also avoid aromatherapy and herbal remedies as there is not enough research on their effects on pregnant women. Medical experts2 also recommend that unless you’ve received allergy shots before you became pregnant, you should not start taking them during pregnancy as you won’t know the effect they may have on you. You should also avoid decongestants like pseudoephedrine in your first trimester. It’s okay to take them in your second and third trimesters as long as you don’t have high blood pressure. Please check with your obstetrician if you are uncertain about anything related to taking allergy medication in pregnancy.

Please note that in the event of a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction like anaphylaxis, you should seek immediate medical advice and treatment.

Do Allergies Affect Your Unborn Baby?

Allergies do not affect your unborn baby. However, if your allergy symptoms are not managed well, it could affect your sleep and mood – and moms-to-be definitely need adequate sleep and less stress in their lives for a healthy pregnancy.

Not all allergy medications are advisable to take during pregnancy. Data in 1000 pregnant women who took Loratadine (Claritin®) did not report any fetal or neonatal malformations or toxicities5. However, it is important that you consult with your doctor before taking any medication while pregnant.

Loratadine (Claritin®) works in as fast as 15 minutes6, provides non-drowsy7,8 allergy relief vs. first-generation antihistamines and cetirizine and lasts up to 24 hours8.

IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR.
ASC Ref. Code: B183P042822CS

REFERENCES

  1. Update on allergies in pregnancy, lactation, and early childhood. Pali-Scholl, I. et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009. Retrieved on December 9, 2021 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2999741/
  2. BPregnant with Allergies? 5 Treatments That Are Safe for Baby. The Cleveland Clinic. Published on December 23, 2020. Retrieved on December 9, 2021 from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/pregnant-5-killer-allergy-busters-that-are-safe-for-baby/
  3. Your Pregnancy Matters: Itchy eyes, sore throat: How to manage allergies and asthma during pregnancy. Morgan, J. (M.D.), Feldman, M. (M.D.). UT Southwestern Medical Center. Retrieved on December 9, 2021 from https://utswmed.org/medblog/allergies-asthma-during-pregnancy/
  4. Pregnancy and Allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Retrieved on December 9, 2021 from https://acaai.org/allergies/allergies-101/who-gets-allergies/pregnancy-and-allergy/
  5. Pregnant with Allergies? 5 Treatments That Are Safe for Baby. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved Jan 25, 2022 from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/pregnant-5-killer-allergy-busters-that-are-safe-for-baby/
  6. Sur, Denise K C, and Monica L Plesa. “Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis .” American family physician vol. 92,11 (2015): 985-92.
  7. Kawauchi, H.; Yanai, K.; Wang, D.-Y.; Itahashi, K.; Okubo, K. Antihistamines for Allergic Rhinitis Treatment from the Viewpoint of Nonsedative Properties. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 213. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20010213
  8. Haria, Malini, et al. “Loratadine.” Drugs, vol. 48, no. 4, 1994, pp. 617–637., https://doi.org/10.2165/00003495-199448040-00009.