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title pic Allergy Meds and Pregnancy

Posted by Claudia Grazioso on March 5, 2012

Allergy Meds and Pregnancy

Let’s face it: Not every single day of pregnancy is a glowing, I-am-contentedly-nesting-while-I-peacefully-await-the-arrival-of-my-cherished-child kind of day. There’s lower back pain, upper back pain, joint pain and blotchy skin. There’s cravings and nausea and, dare we say it, gas. There’s swollen feet, a lumbering gait and endless trips to the bathroom. And that’s a normal pregnancy. Add on any other discomfort, even something as seemingly innocuous as allergies, and the scales can quickly tip towards unbearable. So if you are a pregnant allergy sufferer, what are your options?

Though most doctors suggest pregnant women avoid taking any unnecessary medications, the good news for allergy sufferers is that if you have to take medication to manage your symptoms, there are many allergy medications that have a Category B rating. That means that in lab tests on animals, these medications did not seem to pose any risk to developing babies. But it’s important to be aware of what you are taking, because some medications also received a Category C rating, which means that animal studies did reveal a possible risk to unborn babies.

In general, it seems to break down like this: Antihistamines like Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Claritin (loratadine) are Category B, and probably okay to take during your pregnancy. (Of course, you should discuss taking any medication with your doctor first.) Decongestants like Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) are category C and not recommended. Some of these drugs have been associated with a condition known as gastroschisis, a type of hernia that is similar to infant omphalocele. It seems that Category C drugs are best to avoid during pregnancy unless they are absolutely necessary and are taken under the advice of your healthcare provider.

If you are an allergy sufferer and want to avoid drugs all together, you can try other methods for easing your symptoms. Get walking or exercising — that actually can help with nasal inflammation. At night you can use a nasal strip to help open stuffed sinuses. Also, consider a saline nasal spray to keep sinuses moist and more comfortable. But be sure to look for a plain saline spray. Some medicated nasal sprays have also received Category C ratings.

Do your best to stay comfortable, and know that at least the lower back pain, the upper back pain, the nausea, the cravings and the constant urge to pee will be over soon!

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