Q: What can I do about seasonal allergies when I’m pregnant?
A: The sneezing, nasal congestion and itchy eyes that come with seasonal allergies can make you very uncomfortable during pregnancy. The good news is about half of moms-to-be who suffer from allergies before they’re pregnant experience fewer or no symptoms while expecting.
If you’re one who still suffers, you can treat allergies a few ways without medication. Decongestants are not recommended during pregnancy, so to treat a stuffy nose, try using a Neti pot for nasal irrigation: Mix a pint of lukewarm distilled or boiled water with 1 teaspoon salt. Pour the mixture through one nostril, letting it run out the opposite side, then repeat with your other nostril. Using a Neti pot helps to thin and clear mucus, allowing you to breathe easier. At night, keep your windows closed—allergy-causing pollen is worst at dusk and dawn—and use nasal strips; they’ll keep your nasal passages open and improve your sleep. For itchy, watery eyes, ask your doctor for prescription eye drops. And if you have severe allergy symptoms, Benadryl is considered safe for use during pregnancy; be sure to check with your doctor before taking this or any medication.
If your seasonal allergies manifest as asthma, continue treatment for this condition while pregnant. Again, consult with your doctor about what’s safe for you and your baby.