What’s the best hay fever treatment when pregnant?
The best treatments available for hay fever during pregnancy will be what’s most suitable for you, but this is likely to be oral antihistamines. If these do not help to relieve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend nasal sprays and eye drops.
It is important to note that decongestant medicines, the type that helps relieve a blocked nose, are not usually recommended during any stage of pregnancy. This is because they contain the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, which can reduce the blood flow to the placenta and unborn baby.
Non drowsy antihistamines
Non drowsy antihistamines are often considered the better choice for relieving allergy symptoms because they are less likely to make you feel sleepy. There are several different non drowsy antihistamines available, including:
Loratadine in pregnancy
Loratadine is generally considered to be safe for use during pregnancy to help treat the symptoms of hay fever. Research has shown that loratadine is not known to cause birth defects or harm to a baby if taken during pregnancy.
Loratadine is available in liquid or tablet form. It is available on prescription or over the counter but you should get advice from your doctor before taking it if you are pregnant.
Cetirizine in pregnancy
Cetirizine is a non drowsy antihistamine used to treat hay fever. There is no evidence available to suggest that it is harmful during pregnancy.
Cetirizine is available on prescription but can also be bought over the counter. Although it is non drowsy, some people find it still makes them feel sleepy. Cetirizine can also cause side effects, such as:
- dry mouth
- sore throat
- feeling sick (nausea)
Fexofenadine in pregnancy
Fexofenadine is an antihistamine that is only available in tablet form and can be bought without prescription. Although emerging research suggests fexofenadine may be safe for use during pregnancy, it isn’t usually recommended for use during pregnancy in the UK.
Hay fever nasal sprays and eye drops
There are nasal sprays and eye drops available to treat hay fever symptoms. Nasal sprays often contain one of the following medicines:
- mast cell stabilisers
Nasal sprays may also be prescribed with eye drops that contain mast cell stabilisers or antihistamines. Although some of these treatments are available to buy over the counter, it is best to consult a doctor first. That’s because small amounts of the medicines found in nasal sprays and eye drops can pass into the bloodstream and reach a baby. Although it is unlikely to cause adverse effects, it is best to get a doctor’s advice beforehand.
Drowsy antihistamines are more likely to make you feel sleepy. They include chlorphenamine, which is also known as Piriton. In most cases these are not recommended for pregnant women.
Chlorphenamine is used to treat the symptoms of allergies, including hay fever. It is available on prescription as well as over the counter. If you are pregnant it’s sensible to ask your doctor or midwife before starting any medications.
For some women it is safe to take chlorphenamine in pregnancy as there is no evidence to suggest that it is harmful for your baby. Your doctor may recommend a non drowsy antihistamine before advising Chlorphenamine in pregnancy because it can cause side effects.
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