When a woman becomes pregnant, her whole body undergoes an amazing amount of change. Pregnancy affects all aspects of the body, including the respiratory system and even allergies. Some women with a history of allergies find that all of a sudden their allergies are better, while others who never experienced trouble before the pregnancy are sneezing with stuffy noses and itchy eyes. Other women just maintain, whether it means staying immune to symptoms or continuing the battle against allergies. So what do you do? Do you take the medications? Do you suffer the symptoms? Can you find relief?
Most importantly, if you are suffering from allergies during pregnancy, whether they are new to you or something you’ve dealt with your whole life, discuss your allergies and symptoms with your doctor. You may be able to follow whatever plan you have been doing, or you may need to change some things for a few months.
Due to the change in hormones in the body, you may have allergic symptoms to things that have never bothered you before. These symptoms might include not only allergic rhinitis like symptoms, but also skin rashes and irritation as well. If you can identify these triggers, avoidance is best. For instance, if you find yourself allergic to a certain soap, switch to a more gentle one, or if you are more sensitive to your friend’s cat, stay away.
If symptoms become impossible to avoid, such as environmental factors like pollen or things in the work place, even a coworker’s perfume, you may need to consider medication. This you will have to evaluate and you’ll need to take into consideration things like how bad are your symptoms? Are they making it difficult to carry out daily tasks? Are they threatening your health or the baby’s? If the answer to any of these is Yes, then it may be worth it to take a safe allergy medication (I’d like to reiterate safe).
In the article Allergies and Pregnancy on www.babyzone.com, Dr. Paul Gluck, MD, a clinical professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine, explains that the labored breathing caused by allergies can actually impede the flow of oxygen to the baby. It can also raise blood pressure. Either of these, of course, is much worse and dangerous to the baby than taking an allergy medication that is safe during pregnancy. He does recommend discussing your symptoms with your provider, as some medications are not safe during pregnancy and can either lead to overuse or harmful side effects.
With all the medications on the market, both OTC and prescription, you do have a wide choice of antihistamines, nasal sprays and steroid medicine. Your doctor and you should be able to find a safe regimen that will provide you relief and safety to your baby during pregnancy. Again, the benefits must be weighed against the risks. The afore mentioned article sites a case where a woman had such intense sneezing that it would cause her cervix to open, putting her pregnancy and baby at serious risk. She was truly a candidate for medication to control her allergies.
Don’t forget, however, that is normal for nasal passages to swell during pregnancy and experience allergy like symptoms such as difficulty breathing and congestion, even nosebleeds. This probably doesn’t warrant medication as it is not related to any type of external trigger; it’s just part of the body adjusting to pregnancy.
There are also some natural remedies worth trying that women may find helpful during pregnancy, and those include humidifiers, drinking plenty of water and eating healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Saline nasal sprays and nasal irrigation may provide relief as well.
– Heather Legg