Is It Safe to Use Benadryl During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy comes with many changes: hormonal, physical and emotional. These may lower your immunity and lead to allergies, colds, flu and other discomforts which can normally be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines. However, if you are pregnant, you need to take extra caution to minimize the risk of harming your unborn baby. Some medications may have adverse effects on your baby. In case you have an allergy in pregnancy, can you take Benadryl?

Can You Take Benadryl While Pregnant?

It is not advisable to take Benadryl while pregnant without a doctor’s advice. Benadryl is a popular drug for a vast array of symptoms such as flu, cold, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and rashes.

Benadryl, whose medical term is diphenhydramine, has been listed by the FDA under category B, which means that small amounts are passed on to the fetus through the placenta. Although studies on animals have indicated that there are no adverse reactions, it is prudent to avoid taking Benadryl while pregnant because there aren’t any controlled studies to determine its safety.

Possible Risks and Side Effects of Benadryl

  • Drowsiness is most common and can be a harmless side effect of this medicine in pregnancy.
  • Overdosing of diphenhydramine has been associated with the same effects as those arising from using oxytocin by pregnant women. Oxytocin is responsible for signaling labor contractions. 
  • Studies have also found that when taken during the first trimester of pregnancy, diphenhydramine increases the risk of cleft palate or split upper lift.
  • When taken with other medications, diphenhydramine can significantly increase the risk of fetal morbidity – the rate at which the child gets sick increases exponentially.
  • The daily dosage of Benadryl during pregnancy can cause the baby to exhibit withdrawal symptoms after birth.

However, topical application of the drug during pregnancy has not been proven to be harmful in any way. Having said this, can you take Benadryl while pregnant? The answer is only if the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Avoid Benadryl During Pregnancy If You Have Certain Medical Conditions

You should also avoid Benadryl while pregnant if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Blood pressure problems, especially low blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Thyroid problems like goiter, nodules, autoimmune diseases and thyroid cancer
  • Respiratory problems such as asthma, shortness of breath, bronchitis, and pneumonia
  • Glaucoma
  • Liver and kidney diseases

Safe Dosage of Benadryl to Take While Pregnant

Your doctor can prescribe a safe dosage of Benadryl to control the allergy symptoms. Make sure that you take only the recommended dosage to avoid risking any health hazard for you and the baby. Usually, a dose of 35mg, three times a day is recommended for the first trimester although the frequency reduces to two times during the second and third trimesters.

Because Benadryl has side effects like dizziness and drowsiness, you should avoid sensitive activities such as driving when you are taking it. You should also keep away from alcohol when you are under medication such as diphenhydramine.

Does Allergies Affect the Baby?

As you are asking the question, "Can you take Benadryl while pregnant?" you could also be wondering if your allergy affects your baby. The good news is that allergy symptoms such as sneezing, chaffing, itching and runny nose have no direct effect on the unborn baby unless it is a life-threatening allergic reaction like anaphylaxis. You can, however, go for a further checkup to rule out any possible underlying conditions that may be causing you the allergies.

When to See a Doctor for Allergy

If you feel in your gut that something may be wrong, you need to trust your instinct and visit a medical practitioner. Although allergies are minor and irritating, it is highly unlikely that they will be sending you to the ER anytime soon. However, if any of the following symptoms seem to persist, then it is advisable that you seek medical attention:

  • Prolonged fever
  • Vomiting and diarrhea – you need to keep yourself hydrated and replace the lost electrolytes since you run the risk of dehydration due to loss of fluids.

Natural Allergy Remedies

Some natural methods also help clear allergies. Below are some of the alternatives you may use if you are wondering "Can you take Benadryl while pregnant?" Consult your doctor before usage.

1.     Local Honey

Although a bee sting can cause severe allergic reactions, honey does the exact opposite. It is interesting that taking a teaspoon or two of local honey supplies your body with allergens that are common in your locality. This equips your body to fight allergic reactions that may be triggered by allergens in your locality.

2.     Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is a natural antihistamine. It acts by blocking the body’s release of histamine. Nettle leaves can be taken in dried and crushed form or can be combined with other herbs and spices such as peppermint to make tea.

3.     Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar, especially the raw and unfiltered kind is the best known natural cure for allergic reactions. It does thorough cleansing of the lymphatic system and reduces mucus production which is a typical allergic reaction. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a glass of water will usually do the job.

4.     Using a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier maintains a certain level of humidity in your room, usually below 50% which keeps mites and molds away. For extra protection, you can use barrier beddings and pillows. This will significantly reduce chances of contracting allergy symptoms. However, when buying these fabrics, you should be careful to check that they have been treated with chemicals that won’t react with your skin.

5.     Use a Vacuum with a HEPA Filter

A HEPA filter can trap up to 90% of allergens such as dust, pollen, bacteria and dander, and thus reduce the risk of allergic reactions. It is especially useful for people with asthma and pregnant women who suffer from allergies.

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