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Can I Take Allergy Medication if I'm Pregnant?

Some allergy drugs seem safe for pregnant women. But you need to be cautious about using any drug during pregnancy. That's especially true during the first trimester. Before you take allergy drugs, talk to your doctor first.

Oral antihistamines, like Allegra (fexofenadine), Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine), Claritin (loratadine), and Zyrtec (cetirizine), seem to be safe. So do Nasalcrom (cromolyn sodium) nasal spray and steroid sprays your doctor prescribes. The advantage to sprays is that the drug is focused only in your nose. It doesn't travel throughout your body. Don't take any nasal spray decongestants, however.

During your first trimester, don't take oral decongestants. They may raise the risk of certain birth defects. Watch out for antihistamines combined with a decongestant, like Claritin-D and Zyrtec-D. Since there's not enough evidence for their safety, avoid antihistamine nasal sprays.

Is it safer to skip allergy medication altogether when I'm pregnant?

There's no simple answer. If your symptoms aren't bad, your doctor may suggest other treatments instead. You could allergy-proof your home or rely on saline nasal sprays.

But if allergy symptoms are a big problem -- disturbing sleep or dragging down your mood -- taking medication may be better for your health and your baby's.

If you have allergic asthma, you need to take the medication as prescribed. Uncontrolled asthma can cause serious problems during pregnancy.

Are allergy shots safe during pregnancy?

Yes, you can keep getting allergy shots after you become pregnant. However, you shouldn't start allergy shots during pregnancy. Wait until after you've had your baby.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on November 05, 2012

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