• How common are allergies during pregnancy?

    Allergies are common in pregnancy; about a quarter of all expectant mothers experience them. Not all are long-term allergy sufferers — many women with no known prior allergies complain of their symptoms just during pregnancy. Some of the stuffy nose symptoms are not allergies at all, but are the result of hormone-induced swelling in the nasal passages. Others, however, will turn out to be indicators of newly discovered allergies.

    How will my pregnancy affect the severity of my asthma?

    Your asthma may become worse during your pregnancy, especially if your condition is considered severe. On the other hand, about a third of asthma patients improve during pregnancy, especially if their disease was mild before they became pregnant. Another third experience no change. If your asthma or asthma attacks become worse, it will most likely occur during 24 to 36 weeks of your pregnancy. Only about 1 in 10 women with asthma have symptoms during delivery.

    What steps can I take to control my asthma and allergies while I’m pregnant?

    Asthma and allergies are often connected. Most asthma patients are allergic to one or more allergens such as pollens, molds, pet dander, house dust mites and cockroaches. Other non-allergic substances also may worsen your asthma and allergies. These include tobacco smoke, paint and chemical fumes, strong odors, environmental pollutants (including ozone and smog) and drugs, such as aspirin or beta-blockers.

    If a patient tests allergic to a specific trigger, allergists recommend the following avoidance steps:

    • Remove allergy-causing pets from the house.
    • Seal pillows, mattresses and box springs in special dust mite-proof casings.
    • Wash bedding weekly in 130 degrees F water to kill dust mites.
    • Keep home humidity under 50% to control dust
      mite and mold growth.
    • Use filtering vacuums or “filter vacuum bags” to control airborne dust when cleaning.

    Can I receive allergy shots or a flu shot when I’m pregnant?

    Allergy shots are often effective if you continue to experience symptoms despite allergen avoidance and proper medication. If you currently are receiving immunotherapy for the treatment of your asthma and/or allergies, it can be carefully continued during pregnancy if you benefit from the treatment and do not experience any adverse reactions. It is not recommended, however, that immunotherapy be initiated during a pregnancy. If you have moderate or severe asthma, an influenza vaccine is recommended. There is no evidence of risk for you or your baby.

    What Medications Are Safe to Take During Pregnancy?

    The following medications and home remedies have no known harmful effects during pregnancy when taken according to the package directions. Contact your doctor for additional information on their safety or for medications not listed here.


    • Diphenhydramine
    • Loratadine
    • Cetirizine

    Cold and Flu

    • Acetaminophen
    • Saline nasal drops or spray
    • Warm salt/water gargle

    How does uncontrolled asthma affect the fetus?

    Uncontrolled asthma symptoms can cause a decrease in the amount of oxygen in your blood supply. The fetus gets its oxygen from your blood. Since a fetus needs a constant supply of oxygen for normal growth and development, managing asthma symptoms is very important to allow you and your baby to get enough oxygen.

    Can I breastfeed if I am taking medications for my asthma or allergies?

    Medications recommended for use during pregnancy can be continued while nursing, because the baby gets less maternal medicine through breast milk than in the womb. Your allergist can discuss with you the best treatments while nursing.

    What is Rhinitis of Pregnancy?

    One phenomenon of pregnancy is known as the rhinitis of pregnancy. According to different studies 20-30% of women may experience a rhinitis or stuffy nose during pregnancy that may be confused with allergies but is actually caused by hormones, which swell nasal passages.

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