Pregnancy seems to affect each woman a different way – some preexisting conditions worsen and other seem to go into recession causing an abatement of troublesome symptoms. Allergies during pregnancy are a case in point – many women find that their allergies such as rhinitis worsen or abate at this time.
Also many women, who don’t have allergies ordinarily, find that they have symptoms akin to allergies during pregnancy – a stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, and feeling generally miserable.
A lot of what seems like allergies during pregnancy is not actually allergy related – pregnancy hormones may also be responsible for these symptoms and so it is important to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms before picking a management technique –
- If the symptoms are caused by allergies, then one can try and pin point allergy triggers and try to avoid them – for instance if it is dust mites one is allergic to, try and avoid dusting in the home for a while and so on.
- In general testing for allergies during pregnancy which involve exposure to allergens is not advisable due to the small potential risk of anaphylaxis. This could result in diminishing supply of oxygen to the fetus. However certain kind of allergy testing which involves blood or skin test is thought to be safe.
- If it is not possible to avoid or eliminate triggers, medications may have to be resorted to. The safety of medications to treat allergies during pregnancy is an obvious concern. The FDA does not deem any medication completely safe to take in pregnancy, however has created the following drug classifications that may help women determine what to take for allergies during pregnancy-
- Category A medications are those that have been tested on pregnant women and deemed safe for the first trimester. No asthma drugs are included in this list.
- Category B is a list of drugs that have undergone pregnant animal studies so their exact effect on pregnant women and the fetus is not clearly understood.
- Category C drugs are those that have been tried on pregnant animals and which have also displayed some undesirable effects. However the possible benefits of such drugs could outweigh the possible risks.
- Category D drugs show a clear risk to the fetus, however in some cases, it could be that the possible benefits are thought to outweigh that risk.
- Drugs marked Category X are completely unadvisable during pregnancy, showing a significant chance of birth defects.
- If one wants to avoid all kinds of medication for allergies during pregnancy, medicated sprays or nasal saline could be effective to combat the symptoms of a stuffy nose and so on.