Young pregnant woman blowing her noseBlooming flowers and lush green grass create a picturesque spring scene for many, but not for the millions of Americans grappling with seasonal allergies. Instead, the arrival of spring signals the need to start taking allergy medications to manage their symptoms. A popular choice is Benadryl.
If you’re pregnant and suffering from allergies, you might wonder, “Can you take Benadryl while pregnant?” Fortunately, most antihistamines, including Benadryl, are generally considered safe during pregnancy. However, it’s important to know the possible risks associated with medication use during pregnancy.
In this article, we will explore the safety of taking Benadryl while pregnant and provide alternatives and non-medication methods to relieve your allergy symptoms.

Understanding Benadryl

Benadryl is an over-the-counter (OTC) oral antihistamine, specifically classified as a first-generation antihistamine. As we’ll delve into later, first-generation antihistamines like Benadryl tend to induce more drowsiness than second-generation antihistamines such as Claritin.
Allergy symptoms, such as runny nose and sneezing, result from the body’s reaction to a chemical called histamine. In cases of allergies, the body mistakenly perceives a substance as harmful, triggering the release of histamine to eliminate what it believes to be toxic. Benadryl works by reducing the body’s exaggerated response to histamine, providing relief from irritating allergy symptoms.

Can You Take Benadryl While Pregnant?

Yes, doctors generally consider Benadryl safe to use during pregnancy. Extensive studies have been conducted over time, demonstrating that Benadryl and other first-generation antihistamines pose minimal risk to unborn babies.
This safety profile extends across all three trimesters, meaning that if you took Benadryl before knowing you were pregnant, it is generally considered fine.

Risks of Taking Benadryl While Pregnant

While Benadryl may not harm your growing baby, it does come with risks. Common side effects of Benadryl include drowsiness, dizziness, and weakness. These effects can be especially troubling during pregnancy. Issues like vertigo are common in the first trimester. As you get farther along, your growing belly will change your center of gravity, so you may have problems balancing.
Before taking Benadryl, discussing these potential side effects with your doctor is crucial. They may recommend alternative allergy medications with fewer risks, considering the unique concerns of pregnancy.

Alternatives to Benadryl During Pregnancy

Considering the potential drowsiness associated with Benadryl, a less drowsy antihistamine is a better option. Second-generation antihistamines, such as Claritin and Zyrtec, are considered safer alternatives to Benadryl and are available over the counter.
Nasal steroid sprays, like Rhinocort and Flonase, are also safe ways to manage allergies during pregnancy. However, these sprays may take time to start working, so they’re best to take when trying to prevent allergy symptoms before going outdoors.

Non-Medication Approaches to Managing Allergies During Pregnancy

If you’re hoping to avoid medications during pregnancy, several non-medication tips can help alleviate allergy symptoms:

  • Avoid being around people who smoke.
  • Utilize a saline sinus rinse, such as a neti pot.
  • If dealing with outdoor allergies, stay indoors as much as possible and take preventive measures like wearing wrap-around sunglasses.
  • Do your best to clean your house regularly for indoor allergies, but don’t be afraid to ask for help!
    Use a wet cloth or mop to clean hard surfaces.
  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean rugs and carpets.
  • Dust with a microfiber cloth instead of a feather duster.
  • Avoid entering rooms where dust settles heavily (like basements or attics).
  • Manage pet allergies by avoiding places with many animals and designating a pet-free room at home.

Managing Your Allergies During Pregnancy

Allergies during pregnancy can be challenging, but Benadryl is generally considered safe and effective. Nevertheless, due to potential side effects, your doctor may recommend alternative options. You can get second-generation antihistamines or specific nasal steroid sprays if Benadryl’s side effects are too irritating. Always consult a healthcare professional to discuss the most suitable option for you.