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Why Do Allergies During Pregnancy Occur?

Approximately 20 percent of women experience worsened allergies when they get pregnant.

Are you part of this group? Are you tired of sneezing and sniffling all day long? If so, you’re in the right place.

Read on to learn more about why some people experience worsened allergies during pregnancy. You’ll also learn what you can do to combat these allergy symptoms and make your pregnancy a bit more tolerable.

Common Allergy Symptoms

Allergies occur as part of the process our immune systems go through when they react to an allergen or foreign substance. This could be pollen, dust, a bee sting, or exposure to a particular food. Throughout this process, the body becomes inflamed and its temperature increases to try and fight off the foreign substance.

When this happens, we experience a variety of allergy symptoms, including the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Blurred vision
  • Redness of the eyes
  • A rash or hives

It’s important to note, too, that an allergy is different from an intolerance. If you’re allergic to something, your immune system reacts to it and tries to fight it off. If you consume something to which you’re intolerant, you may experience unpleasant symptoms, such as digestive issues or headaches, but you aren’t having an allergic reaction per se.

What Causes Allergies During Pregnancy?

In some cases, allergy symptoms can get worse when a woman is pregnant. There are a few reasons for this, including the following:

Increased Congestion

First, it’s important to note that many women experience increased nasal congestion when they’re pregnant. As the hormones shift in the body throughout the pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to have more stuffy noses than usual.

Sometimes, it’s not actually allergies that are causing your symptoms. If you experience nasal congestion alongside other symptoms like those outlined above, though, it’s safe to assume that you’re dealing with allergies, not just run-of-the-mill pregnancy congestion. Your allergy symptoms might be worse than usual, though, thanks to the fact that pregnancy can make congestion worse in a lot of women.

Increased Sensitivity

Second, many women are much more sensitive when they’re pregnant. They may find that they notice their symptoms more than they did before, and they may seem exacerbated during their pregnancy.

This is especially true for women who experience problems with their skin as part of their allergy symptoms. For example, if you tend to get hives or rashes when you have an allergic reaction, you may notice more irritation to your skin during pregnancy because your skin is stretched and might be drier than usual.

No doubt, allergies during pregnancy are self-limiting conditions. When your due date will come and the blooming season will end. So, it is immensely important to stay as comfortable as possible while you navigate pregnancy and such allergies. However, you can use due date calculator to calculate your due date, pregnancy week by week, and pregnancy trimester, etc.

How to Manage Allergies During Pregnancy

If you’re dealing with allergies during your pregnancy, you likely have questions about how to cope. You might be wondering if you can take allergy medicine while pregnant, for example, or what to take for allergies that won’t harm your baby.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when managing pregnant allergy symptoms:

Some Antihistamines Are Safe

Antihistamines are one of the most popular allergy medications on the market. Some of them are safe for pregnant women to consume, including Benadryl and Claritin. Some doctors recommend avoiding Claritin until after the first trimester is over, though.

Other antihistamines like Chlor-Trimeton and triprolidine are generally considered safe to use. However, most doctors will recommend alternatives just to be extra cautious and avoid any negative side effects.

Stay Away from Decongestants

Nasal decongestants like pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine (they’re sold under brand names like Sudafed, Claritin-D, and DayQuil) are not considered safe for pregnant women to consume. They’re especially off-limits during the first trimester.

In some cases, doctors will okay them after the first trimester, but most recommend staying away from them altogether.

Use Nasal Sprays with Caution

Certain nasal sprays are safe to use during pregnancy. Saline sprays are considered an okay option, for example, as are steroid sprays (although you should check with your doctor when it comes to dosing and general usage). Nonsteroidal sprays that contain oxymetazoline (such as Afrin, for example) are not safe to use unless approved by a doctor.

Consider Natural Remedies

There are quite a few natural allergy remedies that can be good alternatives during pregnancy. If you have concerns about medications, consider some of these natural options:

  • Butterbur: Extracts from the butterbur shrub can help to treat hay fever symptoms like congestion, wheezing, and a stuffy nose
  • Quercetin: This is a bioflavonoid that helps to stabilize the cells that are activated during allergic reactions
  • Raw local honey: Raw local honey is loaded with antioxidants, and it helps the body adjust to pollen and other allergens in the area
  • Nettle tea: This is a natural source of vitamin K, quercetin, and carotene, and it helps to block histamines naturally

You can also consult this guide from PatchMD for a more detailed analysis of each treatment.

Avoid Allergy Triggers

It’s also important to take steps to avoid allergy triggers whenever possible. This isn’t always an option, but there are lots of steps you can take to minimize allergen exposure, including the following:

  • Stay away from cigarette smoke
  • Avoid going outdoors in the early morning when pollen counts are at their highest
  • Keep your house clean and free of dust, dirt, and pet dander
  • Shower and change clothes after being outside (and have your family do the same)

If you’re spending time outside doing yard work or gardening, it’s a good idea to wear a filter mask, too. This will help to minimize your allergen exposure and prevent you from breathing in too many irritants.

Start Combatting Allergies Today

Now that you know more about what causes allergies during pregnancy, are you ready to kick your symptoms to the curb? Follow the steps outlined above and you’ll have a much easier time reducing, if not completely eliminating, your pregnancy allergy symptoms.

Do you want to learn more about having a safe, healthy, and happy pregnancy? If so, we have plenty of other resources available on our site. Check out some of our health and wellness-related articles today for more tips and tricks.

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