Can I Take Allergy Medicine While Pregnant?

Careful expectant mothers ask one question before almost every action: Is this safe for the baby? Everything that you take in is also absorbed by your fetus — in a much higher percentage. Once your allergies start flaring up, you are likely going to ask that question before taking sinus and allergy medication. Here is what you need to know if you are considering taking allergy medicine while pregnant:

Oral Antihistamines

In the past, there were concerns that antihistamines led to birth defects. However, the Centers for Disease Control have reviewed research on the matter and determined that most antihistamines are not linked to birth defects. The most common oral antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, cetirizine, fexofenadine, and loratadine seem to be safe for use while pregnant. 

Nasal Sprays

Nasal sprays have a bit of an advantage in that they only target the nose and do not travel throughout the body. However, certain ones such as Rhinocort contain steroids, so you should consult with your doctor before taking them. Furthermore, there isn’t much data on how antihistamine nasal sprays affect pregnant women and their fetuses.


Decongestants are often paired with antihistamines or taken on their own to relieve the symptoms of allergies. Allergy medication is often marked with a “-D” at the end of the name to indicate that it contains a decongestant. It’s important to avoid decongestants while pregnant – especially during your first trimester. Decongestants have been linked to birth defects and heart defects, and they can spike blood pressure. Pseudoephedrine and dextromethorphan are both decongestants and the main ingredients in illegal street drugs — why risk your fetus’ life by taking them?

Other Considerations

  • If you were receiving regular allergy shots before getting pregnant, it is probably safe to continue doing so. However, you should not start receiving allergy shots for the first time during pregnancy. 
  • If your allergies are not too bad, consider skipping the allergy medicine altogether. While antihistamines are generally considered safe, it is difficult to determine exactly how allergy medicine affects pregnancy. 
  • Always consult with your doctor before taking any new medication — especially if this is your first time experiencing allergies. If it is your first time, it is possible that you’re actually experiencing rhinitis of pregnancy, not allergies. 


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