Your Guide to Hay Fever During Pregnancy

pregnant woman with hay fever

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, affects millions of people worldwide, and if you're one of them, you'll know how uncomfortable it can be. It can cause sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, and other uncomfortable symptoms, and while hay fever cannot be cured, symptoms can be managed with medication.

If you suffer from hay fever and are currently pregnant, you might be left wondering if you can carry on with the same treatments you usually rely on. Here, we'll run through how to safely manage hay fever symptoms while pregnant, as well as steps that you can take to minimise the effects.

Understanding Hay Fever During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, hormonal changes can alter the immune system, potentially increasing the severity of any hay fever symptoms that you experience. It's also fairly common for people who have never suffered from hay fever before to begin experiencing the symptoms while pregnant.

How Can I Manage Hay Fever Symptoms Without Medication During Pregnancy?

  1. Minimise exposure to allergens by staying indoors on high-pollen days, and keeping windows closed
  2. Use an air purifier in you bedroom and the rooms you spend the most time in
  3. Avoid handing clothes out to dry. When outside, the pollen will simply stick to the clothing
  4. Vacuum your home regularly and wash bedding regularly
  5. Wash your hands and face regularly, especially after being outdoors
  6. Use an allergen-proof pillowcase and mattress cover.
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Safe and Effective Hay Fever Medicine Options

While some hay fever treatments are perfectly safe to continue using throughout pregnancy, some come with risks, and others are only recommended if you're suffering from severe symptoms. If you've tried the above tips and are still suffering with your symptoms, always speak to your GP or a pharmacist before taking any medications while pregnant.

Some of the hay fever treatments that they might recommend include:

  1. Nasal Saline Flush: A natural and safe option for managing hay fever symptoms is nasal saline irrigation. This involves rinsing the nasal passages with a saline solution to flush out allergens and reduce congestion. It can be done using a nasal saline spray.
  2. Sprays: Corticosteroid nasal sprays, such as budesonide or fluticasone, are commonly prescribed for managing hay fever symptoms. They are considered safer for pregnant people than antihistamines when used as directed and provide effective relief from nasal congestion and inflammation.
  3. Antihistamines: Some antihistamines, such as loratadine and cetirizine, are generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. However, it is best to consult your GP or a pharmacist before taking these, as they may have better suited alternative options for your specific symptoms.

Decongestant Medications and Pregnancy

Decongestants are medications commonly used to alleviate nasal congestion caused by hay fever allergies, as well sinus infections. They work by narrowing the blood vessels in the nasal passages, reducing swelling and congestion.

Decongestants are not considered safe for pregnant people, as they can elevate blood pressure, potentially putting expectant mothers at risk of hypertension or worsening existing hypertensive conditions.

Oral decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, or phenylpropanolamine, are available in pill or liquid form. Nasal decongestants, like oxymetazoline or phenylephrine, are applied directly into the nasal passages.

Managing hay fever during pregnancy can be difficult, and requires a careful approach that prioritises the safety of both you and your baby. While some hay fever medicines can be safely used during pregnancy, make sure to consult with a pharmacist or your GP to determine the most suitable options for your specific needs. They are best equipped to provide personalised guidance based on your symptoms and circumstances.

For more advice, check out the best pregnancy vitamins you need to be taking. Or, check out these 12 books you NEED to read while pregnant!

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