Red Noses and Big Bellies

How to handle this allergy season with pregnancy.

Pregnancy is an exciting time full of changes, new experiences and lots of dos and don’ts. Now that you’re doing everything for two- small things like reaching for an over-the-counter bottle of medication probably require a call to an OBGYN at URANJ. So, what happens when the red eyes and runny nose of allergy season hits? Are antihistamines safe for your baby?

 

OVER-THE-COUNTER IMPACTS ON PREGNANCY

Medications are always a concern during pregnancy due to the possibility of birth defects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assigned risk categories for over-the-counter (OTC) medications when used during pregnancy, and the safety of some medications may be directly linked to how far along you are in your pregnancy. These guidelines have been developed following decades of observation. However, the impact of many OTC drugs on fetuses has not been researched thoroughly due to ethical considerations.

 

WHY TAKE ANTIHISTAMINES?

Most people think of antihistamines when treating allergies. Name brands such as Zyrtec, Claritin and Benadryl probably come to mind. But antihistamines also include drugs that treat nausea and indigestion, such as Zantac and Pepcid. Approximately 10-15% of pregnant women report using an antihistamine at some point during their pregnancy.

 

IS IT SAFE?

Studies have shown antihistamines to be generally safe, with most of them receiving a “B” classification from the FDA. This means there have not been any demonstrated risks in animal studies, but there are not well-controlled studies in pregnant women. To put it into statistical terms- the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that out of 54 studies of antihistamines during pregnancy, only 9 revealed potential links to birth defects.

Since more research is required to fully understand the impact of antihistamines on fetuses, our OBGYN will work with you to conduct a risk/benefit analysis and decide how to treat your symptoms. Factors our OBGYN will consider include the severity of your symptoms and how far along you are in your pregnancy. It’s usually better to wait until after the first trimester- if at all possible.

Although most antihistamines are available over-the-counter, you should talk to our OBGYN at URANJ before treating yourself.

Contact your local URA clinic in Hasbrouck Heights, Hoboken, and Wayne, NJ for more information. Your friendly URA team will be happy to provide more details on antihistamines.

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