Allergy Treatment for Pregnant Women

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I was reading an article in this week’s edition of The New England Journal of Medicine and it made me think.  The article focused on asthma in pregnancy.  While that is a topic for another time, it got me thinking about the treatment of allergies in pregnant women.

Currently, we are nearing the peak of the Spring allergy season.  Most of the patients that I am seeing for the first time arrive on prescription or over-the-counter allergy medications.  Pregnancy categories for medications include category A, B, C, D, and X.  You want to be on medications in pregnancy category A or B and avoid those in pregnancy category D or X.  For drugs in pregnancy category C, caution is advised, but the benefits of the medication may outweigh the potential risks.

First, it is important to think about what medications you are taking if you are thinking about becoming pregnant.  You cannot wait until you discover that you are pregnant.  You may have to modify your medication regimen when you begin trying to become pregnant.  The reason for this is to ensure that there are no harmful effects to the baby from medications prior to learning that you are pregnant.  The most critical time in a baby’s development that is affected by medication are the first weeks of pregnancy.

Zyrtec and Benadryl represent antihistamines that are pregnancy category B.

Rhinocort is a nasal steroid that is pregnancy category B.

For those patients that are on allergy shots, guidelines recommend continuing with your shots if there are observed benefits.  However, the dose should be held and not increased until after delivery of the baby.

If you are considering becoming pregnant and have a question about your allergy options, contact your physician to ensure the safest options for your child.

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