Looking for Hay Fever/Seasonal Allergy Relief That Is Safe for Pregnancy!

Updated on September 04, 2008
L.D. asks from Evanston, IL
28 answers

I've had seasonal allergies for as far back as I can remember, but I've never been pregnant during allergy season! This year seems more severe to me as I'm five months pregnant, and have constant itchy eyes, post-nasal drip, dry itchy throat, etc. Icky. It's really interfering with my daily activities, especially hanging out with my two year-old.

I've been sleeping with out the air conditioning on, since that seems to dry things out a little too much, but am of course ridiculously hot am and either waking up from a dry throat or from heat!

So I'm looking for any suggestions you may have regarding alternative treatments - I'm not able to take any medicine, what with the baby, and am hesitant to try any herbal remedies that are not safe for use during pregnancy. So diet and/or lifestyle changes are more up my alley.

Thanks so much!

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So What Happened?

Thanks to ALL of the great responses! I really appreciate the information and now I have quite a wide variety to choose from!

So far, I've upped my vitamin C intake, nixed dairy & lowered my sugar, closed the house up and turned on the A/C and gotten some local raw honey! The evening showers and washing of hands & face really helped, too - and I've asked my husband to join in, to help reduce the pollen in the house. Of course my symptoms aren't completely gone, but are much more bearable! And thank goodness for the rain today - I've been able to have the windows open now that the pollen's been beaten down a bit.

I really value the community knowledge shared here - and the basic tenets of allergy prevention that came along with the responses - they are things that I couldn't find elsewhere! Thanks, mamas!

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J.D.

answers from Chicago on

I had horrible allergies with my pregnancies and the doctors always told me i could use. The Sudafed products.

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K.M.

answers from Chicago on

I know you mentioned you were looking for alternative treatments, but when I was pregnant with both my kids I took Claritin. All of my doctors (OB/GYN and my GP) said that was perfectly fine. It's been out on the market so long it's the only one they trust. It did help me (not as much as my regular allergy meds) but I did get relief from it.

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J.

answers from Chicago on

I used nasal irrigation during pregnancy. Not a neti pot (my ear tubes don't agree with the head-tipping) but the kind where you squirt in some saline water. Walgreens or any drug store will carry a variety of products you can look at.

Also, saline nasal spray for itchy nose symptoms and plain saline eye drops for itchy eyes - all that either of those products do is clean, but it helped me when I was pregnant on very high pollen days.

Take a shower before bed to wash pollen out of your hair and off of your skin. If your air conditioner has a filter, make sure it's been cleaned or replaced recently. I find overnight A/C is the best way to avoid pollen and dust related allergies. Make sure you drink tons of water during the day. Before you go to sleep, swab the inside of your nostrils with a very thin coat of Aquaphor (vaseline would probably work too) to help with the nasal dryness. I can't use a fan at night - stirs up dust and pollen and I wake up with a stuffy nose.

Also, benedryl is safe during pregnancy if all else fails.

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A.H.

answers from Chicago on

I've heard a lot of people rave about how wonderful the neti pot is, so you might want to give it a try. I can't handle water or anything going up my nose, so I haven't. They gave me tons of nasal sprays to try while I was pregnant as those are the safest. Nasonex seemed to do the best job for me, but it varies from person to person. I am highly allergic and began shot therapy treatment after my last pregnancy in the hopes of getting some relief and get off the meds. However, I ended up having to just take the meds during both my pregnancies. Most allergy sprays give me burning sensations in my nose and eyes and after a while it becomes too much, so I need to take the pills. Both times my OB agreed that taking the meds was less risk overall than the misery I was in without them. Ask your OB which ones are the least risk factor and go with the safest option that will work for you. The better you feel, the better your going to be able to keep yourself for the baby otherwise. Concentrate on eating healthy and exercising.

I would turn the air back on. It's been lovely out this summer and my house stays rather nice, but I've had the air on most of the summer purely to filter out the allergens. Air the house out on rainy days after the airborne pollens have been beaten down to the ground for a while. Then close it back up and keep the air on instead. It's currently weed pollen season (August-September) and VERY high. I'm on Zyrtec, boosting with occasional Benadryl, and keeping the air on... and yet every time I step outside right now my eyes itch and I start sneezing.

You can get email updates when allergies are bad from pollen.com too. I use them to help me determine when I might need additional Benadryl before going outside.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

A.T.

answers from Springfield on

Local raw honey! Take it by the spoonful...tasty and healthy. (It's safe for you during pregnancy and lactation, just do not give any to infants under 1yo). Try to find honey as local to your area as possible...if you can't find anything within 100mi, then aim for within the region (i.e. honey from IL, IN, MI, IA, or WI)

Also, homeopathic remedies are safe to use during pregnancy and lactation. There are remedies that cover basic allergy/hay fever/sinus issues, or you can find remedies that target your symptoms specifically (i.e., burning runny nose and eyes vs heavy pressure within the face).

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

You can try plain Claritin tablet for allergy(you can buy it over the counter at walmart or a drugstore). For pain/fever tylenol is ok to use during pregnancy. If you need a general list of drugs that is ok to use during pregnancy, i could get you that information. Most drugs seem not to be 100% safe in pregnancy.
Take a lot of fluids(i recommend water-at least 32oz or more daily), fruits, vegetables, rest, and exercise(walking).
I hope you feel better. Let me know if you have any other questions. Enjoy your pregnancy.

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B.D.

answers from Chicago on

I am 12.5 weeks pregnant and I received a list of drugs that are safe during pregnancy from my doctor at my first OB appointment.

For allergies it says: Benadryl I, Claritin & Chlortrimeton

For colds & congestion it says: Sudafed, Robitussin PE, Tylenol Sinus, Robitussin Honey Flu & Tylenol Cold

Hope this helps - feel better soon!

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R.A.

answers from Peoria on

I lived on Benadryl when I was pregnant. I took it twice a day and sometimes more than that if needed. You'll be really tired for first few days but after it build in your system it won't make you tired anymore. This is what my Dr. told me to take so I would ask yours and see what he says.

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T.C.

answers from Chicago on

Jen took all the words right out of my mouth! Great advice! Especially the non-medicated nasal sprays and the shower before bedtime... those were VERY helpful during my pregnancy.

The only thing I want to add though is that while I was pregnant I would get EXTREME migraines and the nurse practitioner at my OB/Gyne office suggested a great concoction for them! It was take 1 Chlortrimeton (it is an allergy pill) an Excederin and a bottle of Coke. Cleared my migraines right up and it also helped with my allergies which is what I think was causing some of the migraines along with hormone changes. Before taking the Chlortrimeton though ask your Dr if it is safe for you also to do so... it has been about 2 years since doing this while pregnant so things may have changed! Better to be safe than sorry!

I hope you find some relief soon! Thank goodness fall is right around the corner... of course then a whole new bout of allergies! Ughhhhhhhh!

Good luck and many blessings to you and yours!

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S.H.

answers from Champaign on

I took Flonase throughout my entire pregnancy and my doctor said it was okay. She strongly discouraged using anything that contains pseudophedrine (such as sudafed) because it can artificially raise your blood pressure. She also recommended Alavert as an over the counter allergy relief; however, I didn't find it very useful.

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G.C.

answers from Chicago on

If your really looking for something natural, I would suggest supplementing. I have tried just about everything and finally found a product that works. We have had amazing results! And I know it is safe for pregnant women. Let me know if yoiu want more info. I can relate! G. Chambers

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L.G.

answers from Chicago on

Hi:

I had this same issue when I was pregnant with my last son 3 years ago. My OB told me to take Claritan. But the best advice you should follow is to call your OB and ask what they recommend. Good Luck

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M.P.

answers from Chicago on

I used rhinocort aqua a nose spray and it was fine for preg and it worked i still use it

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D.V.

answers from Chicago on

I agree with Jen about the shower before bedtime- a HUGE help. If you don't have them already you may want to consider allergen barrier mattress and pillow covers.

Several people have suggested the Neti-Pot. There is another product (avail. at Walgreens) that I like a lot more. It's called the NeilMed Sinus Rinse (it's a bottle with a rounded tip top). It provides SO much relief! I'm not sure if you work full time but if you do, you could consider bringing a bottle of nasal saline (less than $2 at any drugstore) with you to work to use during the day for daytime relief.

I am a life-long allergic/asthmatic and and really preferred not to take allergy meds during my pregnancy so I used the Sinus Rinse regularly and made sure to shower at night (or wash my face during the day when I felt my eyes/nose get extremly itchy) and it helped a ton. Good Luck!

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G.K.

answers from Chicago on

I've had allergies all my life. When we started trying to get pregnant, my allergist told me to use Chlorpheniramine. It's one of the cheaper (price, not how well it works) OTC drugs (50 pills for $5), but it works for me. I use Walgreens Wal-finate. I had to go off the prescription meds I was on, and Zyrtec and Alavert didn't work for me. My doc said Chlorpheniramine was safe, but of course you should check with your doc.

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M.K.

answers from Chicago on

You should talk to your OB and see and allergist. You may think it's seasonal allergies, but the pregnancy hormones can aggrevate your sinuses and make you feel like you are premanently stuffed up.

You can absolutely take Zyrtec while you are pregnant. There are nasal sprays and inhalers that have been well tested and provide great relief as well - same steroid as rhinocourt that was mentioned below. Pregnancy aggravated my allergy and sinus conditions, and I lived on all of these for the entire last half.

I would also look into a sinus rinse. There's a kit at Walgreens (think it's called NeilMed) that comes with a squirt bottle. It's much easier to use than the pot.

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

L.,

I have the same issue. I take Zyrtec over the counter. It is pregnancy cat. B. Just call your OBGYN to check which medication he/she feels is safe for you to take (just to be on the safe side).

J.

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N.Z.

answers from Chicago on

Your safety during pregnancy is crucial. I can not recommend any safe drug or over the counter pill, however, I am aware that by increasing your intake of a wide variety of whole food daily can greatly help. I am privileged to help families with consuming more fruits, veggies and whole grains daily. The company is currently doing research with pregnancy and the preliminary results are off the charts. Eating more whole food not only can help change your cell structure and assist with alergy relief, it's great for the baby too. If you are interested in more info., please visit the web site below.
Best of health,
N., Nutrition-Naturally
www.jp4ahealthieryou.com

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L.D.

answers from Chicago on

My doctor told me it was safe to take Clariton while pregnant. Check with your doctor, but this should not be a problem. Also, my girlfriend got terribly bit up by "noseeums" in Florida while about 5 months pregnant - her doctor ok'd the use of Benadryl. Again - check with your doctor. There are some medications that are safe to use during pregnancy - you don't need to suffer! : )

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K.S.

answers from Springfield on

Have you tried acupuncture? My allergies weren't too bad when I was pregnant, but my friend who was pregnant the same time as me swore by acupuncture treatments.

You should ask your doctor or midwife before you use any medications. A lot of people here mention Claritin or Zyrtec, but Benadryl was the only allergy med on my doctor's OK list for pregnancy.

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C.C.

answers from Chicago on

Try your local park district or local yoga studio's offering of "pregnancy yoga" - pregnancy yoga provides breathing exercises to help the sinuses with no drugs!

Another suggestion - some moms are using accupuncture...again with no drugs.

C. L
Mom of 3, pregnancy yoga teacher
[email protected]____.com

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A.S.

answers from Chicago on

Both Claritin and Zyrtec are safe during pregnancy. I took Zyrtec and then switched to Claritin during my pregnancy with my now 5 1/2 month old and everything went fine. Good luck

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E.P.

answers from Chicago on

I have quite a few environmental allergies and I have asthma - all was much worse with my pregnancies. I also had migraines in my first trimester. Things I couldn't live without during pregnancies:

1) My air conditioner - especially during my worst season, which is NOW....ragweed. Clean filter out regularly. Also, keep windows closed in your bedroom during this season. As soon as a hard frost hits, my windows are open again!

2) Shower before bed time so you are not bringing allergens in your bed.

3) Claritin and my doctor/pharmacist approved nasal spray (otherwise I would get bad migraines)

5) Consider going to an allergist - I had shots for many years with good results.

6) Saline sinus spray or neti pot. This will keep your sinuses from drying out. Use it frequently. (I wish I knew about the neti pot when I was pregnant!) Good luck!

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C.P.

answers from Chicago on

I would go natural during pregnancy! I have some documents I could email to you on natural supplement use for allergies and for boosting your immune system!

C. Peterson, Pure Life
Registered Nurse, Wellness Consultant

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E.B.

answers from Chicago on

Hi L........
If you have allergies the worst thing you can do is turn off your AC. Get an allergy filter for your AC and then run it like you normally would. The AC w/ the allergy filter will actually help keep the allergens away.
Also, you CAN take certain allergy meds while pregnant. I took Zyrtec everyday during my pregnancy (I had been taking it daily for years before hand though). My obgyn also said I could take tylenol sinus when I got a cold. I would call your doctor and ask if there is something OTC that you could take.

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M.H.

answers from Chicago on

You are able to take Claritin, and Sudafed while pregnant. I know all medications are concerning, but trust me I took both with both of my sons at the direction of my provider. I would not have made it otherwise. Check with your provider and see what is available.

Btw, I did natural childbirth and was VERY careful during my pregnancies, so I'm not a "med as solution to everything" person. I just couldn't see or breath.
Good LUck!

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A.F.

answers from Chicago on

Hi,

Here are a few of the things that have helped me:

1) My eye doctor recommended prescription eye drops that are specifically for the burning, itchiness caused by allergies. It is called Elestat. You can ask your doctor about it. He said that you can use it with contacts. The eye drops have been really helpful for me.

2) I rinse daily with a sinus rinse called Neil Med Sinus Rinse. Walgreens and Osco carry it and probably CVS. I didn't like the Neti pot because my ear drums were sensitive to it, but The sinus rinse is very comfortable and makes a huge difference. It both washes out the allergens and moisturizes your airway.

My allergist also said that using a simple spray bottle of saline a few times a day can help keep your nasal passage moisturized so that it doesn't get dry and irritated.

3) On that note, I do use a prescription nasal sprary, such as rhinocort or something similar, but my allergist said to first spray with a plain nasal saline and then the prescription spray. Since trying it this way it does not irritate my nasal passage.

4) I use a True HEPA Air Purifier in my bedroom and I run it all the time. I keep my bedroom door closed and run it on high during the day, and then turn it down to the lower level at night. This has helped so much. You can look at Allergy Buyers Club website or even call them for advice on choosing a room air purifier. http://www.allergybuyersclubshopping.com/airpurifiers.html
allergybuyersclub

5) Make sure you have a high filtration filter (specially for allergies) in your furnace/AC unit and change it every 2-3 months. You can find these at Target, Osco, the hardware store, etc.

6) If you are allergic to dust mites or suspect that you might be use a dust mite pillow cover and mattress cover. It also make a big difference. And I wash my sheets in very very hot water every week.

7) Lastly, if you have never had your air ducts cleaned, definitely have them cleaned. We had quite a horror story experience when we first had ours cleaned - there was so much dust inside...

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