Hormonal changes can cause an array of symptoms and side effects.  New allergies can emerge any time you have a significant hormone change, whether that is puberty, pregnancy, postpartum, perimenopause, or menopause.  An allergy is when your immune system reacts abnormally to a foreign substance.  This can also occur more often during pregnancy because with an allergy the immune system is either overreacting or underreacting.  Already existing allergies during pregnancy may worsen in symptoms.  

Allergies can range from seasonal allergies caused by pollen, dust allergy, pet allergies, and food allergies. 


Allergy Symptoms

Allergy symptoms are itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, sore or itchy throat, runny nose, and sinus congestion.  Most common allergens for pregnant women are cocklebur, grasses, molds, pigweed, ragweed, tress, tumbleweed, and pet dander. 

Food allergies can occur during or after pregnancy.  Developing a food allergy is less common than other allergies.  Consuming common food allergies during pregnancy cannot harm your baby, it may actually help prevent your baby from having allergies later in life.  As long as you aren’t allergic to food, such as peanuts, during pregnancy you should be able to consume them normally with no effect on you and your child.  


Pregnancy Rhinitis

Many people have a condition during pregnancy that is called pregnancy rhinitis.  This condition can have symptoms that are similar to allergies. 

Symptoms include stuffy nose, congestion, and post nasal drip.  It can make you feel like you have a cold that never gets better or goes away.  Pregnancy rhinitis does not affect your baby even if you feel lousy, your child isn’t impacted.  This condition usually starts up in the second trimester.  The good news is once you give birth the symptoms completely go away. 

With allergies after giving birth your allergy symptoms may not go away.  In some cases they can actually get worse postpartum than they were during pregnancy. 


Treatment Options During Pregnancy

There are some over the counter medications that you can take for allergies even when you are pregnant.  Zyrtec, Claritin and Benadryl have all been deemed safe for pregnant women.  Certain over the counter nasal sprays are also available for you to use when pregnant.  Speak with your doctor before you start taking any medications to make sure it won’t harm you or your child.  Nasal sprays may be safer because they have a less likely chance to be absorbed into your bloodstream.  You can also make your own nasal spray at home with 8oz of warm water, and ¼ salt to water ratio.  This nasal spray can be put into a nose spray bottle, or used in a neti pot whatever is your preference. Over the counter nasal strips can also be helpful at night.

Medications to make sure you avoid while pregnant are Sudafed, phenylephrine, and phenylpropanolamine.  


If you suffer from pollen allergies it is best to make sure you stay indoors when the pollen count is high.  Pollen counts are highest in the morning so try not to go outdoors until the after if possible.  After being outside make sure you remove shoes by the door so you aren’t tracking pollen through your house.  Wash your hands.  If possible, shower and change your clothes after coming in from outside.  If you can’t shower right away after you come inside, shower at night.  This can get all the pollen off of you and out of your hair, which may help alleviate allergy symptoms at night.  Spring seasonal allergies start around February and can last until May.  While fall seasonal allergies will start late summer or July until late fall sometimes into November depending on where you live.  When doing yard work wear a protective filter mask.  


If dust aggravates you let this be your chance to allow someone else to do the cleaning for you if possible.  If you are cleaning, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.  Use a wet mop to help stop dust from floating up into the air.  A microfiber cloth is better for dusting than a feather duster.  It traps in the dust more effectively instead of spraying it around the room again.  Stay away from areas that can be musty such as basements or attics. 


In some cases you may develop a pet allergy even to your own pet.  If this is the case try and make at least one room in your house pet free.  This will decrease the amount of pet dander or fur in the air in that room to allow you some fresh air to breathe.  If you are visiting a friend with a pet make sure you let them know so they can have the pet put away when you are over.  



Allergies during pregnancy can worsen if you have preexisting allergies.  New allergies may also emerge.  They may not go away after you are done being pregnant.  In some cases new allergies can emerge during postpartum.  Allergies after pregnancy may not be as severe though you still are affected by them.  Once hormones start to level out to your pre-pregnancy levels allergies have a tendency to go away if developed during pregnancy. 

The best way to avoid allergies during pregnancy is to try and stay away from what triggers them.  That can be hard in some cases.  Taking over the counter medications that your doctor has approved of, and finding home remedies that can help subside the symptoms can be helpful.  




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