Allergies and Pregnancy – What Expecting Mothers Need to Know

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You’re over the moon when you first get the news you’re pregnant. Then, after some time, the worry starts to set in. You might become preoccupied with your health and, therefore, your baby’s health. And it’s normal; there are many factors and potential risks. For example, you could discover that your sensitivity to hay fever and other allergies increases during pregnancy. Of course, they won’t hurt you or your child, but they may affect your overall health by making your nose stuffy, causing sneezing, or making it difficult for you to sleep. That’s why, in the rest of this article, we’ll mainly focus on the link between allergies and pregnancy and cover everything expecting mothers need to know.

New Allergies During Pregnancy

One of the most common questions regarding allergies and pregnancy is, “can you get allergies during pregnancy?” The answer is simple: yes. Allergies can develop during pregnancy, occasionally for the first time, and undoubtedly if you have a history of them. Pregnant women frequently have allergies, albeit not all of them are chronic allergy sufferers. Many pregnant women who had no prior allergies reported experiencing symptoms only after they started carrying their child.

Can Allergies Get Worse During Pregnancy?

It depends on the pregnant woman and how severe her allergies are. Pregnancy tends to worsen allergy symptoms for around a third of expectant mothers. Another third report that their allergy problems remain unchanged. And another third discover that their allergy issues become better while they are pregnant.

A pregnant woman reading on the couch with her dog
Many expectant mothers worry about developing new allergies to food or their pets during pregnancy


How Can Allergies Affect Your Baby?

You can undoubtedly have a safe, healthy pregnancy even if you have allergies. Your baby won’t detect anything inside if you’re feeling very miserable. However, it’s still important to inform your doctor of your symptoms. Always get a prescription before taking any medicine, even if you took it often before being pregnant.

Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy

Pregnant women are more likely to frequently get stuffy noses. Mucus membranes expand and soften due to nasal congestion, which typically begins somewhere in the second trimester. As a result, you may feel as congested as you would from a cold or allergy. During pregnancy, this can even cause nosebleeds. Moreover, it can also cause post-nasal drip, which can cause you to cough during the night, making it difficult to sleep. The good news is that this condition usually disappears shortly after labor and delivery.

What distinguishes allergies from a severe case of pregnant congestion? If you have allergies, you’ll probably suffer symptoms like congestion, coughing, sneezing, and itchy eyes. It can be pregnancy-related hormone-related congestion if you’re not experiencing obvious itching or sneezing. Consult your doctor if you’re unsure.

Can You Take Allergy Medication While Pregnant?

Consult your doctor to find out which drugs you may take without risk during pregnancy, consult your doctor. That holds even if you previously took prescription, over-the-counter, or homeopathic drugs regularly. Never use any of these again unless you get permission from a professional, who should always have the last word.

However, there are some basic guidelines for using allergy drugs while pregnant:

  1. Check with your doctor before using antihistamines, even Benadryl, as it may or may not be safe. On the other hand, plain Claritin is often seen as safe, but consult your doctor first; some won’t give the all-clear, especially during the first trimester.
  2. Pregnant women should avoid taking regular decongestants, especially in the first trimester. Since using decongestants more frequently than that might impede blood supply to the placenta, some doctors only permit restricted usage (once or twice for about a day following). If you’ve previously taken them, don’t panic; just let your doctor know before doing so once again.
  3. Steroid nasal sprays are often considered safe for expectant mothers but consult your doctor about brand and dosage. Nasal strips and saline sprays are also acceptable treatments.
Woman watering the plants in her home
If you suffer from seasonal allergies and pregnancy isn’t making it easier to manage them, you need to talk with your doctor and find ways to avoid allergy triggers such as pollen.

What Can Pregnant Women Do?

There are various ways for pregnant women to manage allergy problems. Taking the initiative is the first step. A woman who usually experiences seasonal allergies should talk to her doctor about beginning treatment before symptoms appear. Suppose a pregnant woman experiences seasonal allergy symptoms for the first time. In that case, she should see a doctor to identify the underlying reason and treat the symptoms, which can lower the chance of developing a sinus infection.

Avoiding Allergy Triggers

The most common cause of allergy symptoms is exposure to environmental allergens such as mold, pollen, and animal dander. They are also the allergens that are hardest to stay away from.

To reduce the risk of these allergies, limit your time outside when pollen or pollution levels are high. Moreover, keep your windows closed and use a fan or air conditioner.

When it comes to allergens that are coming from inside the house, such as pet allergens, you can reduce them by regularly vacuuming and taking other necessary steps. For example, not letting your pets on the furniture and into your bedroom can significantly help reduce your allergy reactions to pet fur.

Dust Allergies

On the other hand, you can minimize dust allergies by regularly cleaning and dusting your home. Renovating or relocating can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. However, allergens might not be your biggest issue if you’re moving home while pregnant. It’s essential to stay safe during the move and ensure you’re not doing any heavy lifting that can cause harm to you or your baby.

A pregnant woman tidying up
Keeping your home clean and dust-free can help avoid allergy triggers.

Food Allergies

Are you unsure about your baby’s safety when eating peanut butter? The good news is that the most recent study indicates that consuming peanuts while pregnant may not cause peanut and other allergies in the unborn child but may even help avoid them. Therefore, there is no need to avoid eating peanuts now that you are pregnant, provided that you are not already allergic to them. The same is true for foods rich in allergens like dairy.

Final Thoughts on Allergies and Pregnancy

Allergies can occur during pregnancy, just like in any other period of your life. However, because your body is already undergoing immense changes during pregnancy, your body may have a more challenging time fighting off allergies. That means that sometimes, allergies can get worse than they were before. That is not a rule, though, as plenty of women managed allergies and pregnancy simultaneously without problems.

Meta: Is it true women experience stronger allergy symptoms during pregnancy? Here’s everything you need to know about allergies and pregnancy.

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