Combating Allergies and Asthma While Pregnantby Katlyn Joy | July 9, 2012 12:00 AM
About 25 percent of pregnant women suffer with allergies and the related condition of asthma affects up to 8 percent of women in the US during their childbearing years.
While expectant moms may wish to avoid medications during pregnancy, sometimes it's best to continue treating the conditions throughout the pregnancy and it may even be dangerous to stop.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 35 percent of pregnant women have worsening symptoms of asthma during their pregnancies while 28 percent actually see improvement. For the remaining women, the condition appears unchanged while carrying their babies.
Severe asthma attacks of course are the most serious potentials obstacles during pregnancy, and it is vital for pregnant women with asthma to consult their caregivers early in pregnancy to make certain the best course is developed for their treatment during their pregnancies. Women may continue working with their allergist or immunologist as well as their obstetrician during pregnancy to ensure a continuity of care.
Doctors will determine what the best maintenance dose will be and check symptoms and how both baby and mother appear to be faring as the pregnancy develops and the demands on the mother's respiratory system increases as birth draws closer.
Medications Permitted for Allergies During Pregnancy
Medications long in use for allergies, such as diphanhydramine, or Benadryl, and Chlorpheniramine or ChlorTrimeton are generally considered safe options for expectant moms. Unfortunately, both cause drowsiness so are not always an ideal choice particularly during daytime allergy attacks when you may want to drive or be at work.
Two of the newer antihistamines, loratadine or Claritin, and cetirizine or Zyrtec don't cause the sedation or drowsiness of Benadryl but so far appear to be as safe as the older antihistamines.
Nasal decongestants containing oxymetazoline are best as they are found in nasal sprays which don't typically cross over into the bloodstream. However, they are best used only in most congested days since their use is limited to three days at a time, tops.
Avoid regular decongestants containing pseudoephedrine if possibly but especially during the first trimester when baby's development is most vulnerable.
Asthma Medications Permitted for Asthma During Pregnancy
Generally inhaled medications are safest for use during pregnancy since most or all the medication won't cross into the bloodstream. Medications that have a longer history of use are considered safer since they have been in use longer and more is known about their side effects and safety during pregnancy.
Avoidance of some medications during the first trimester is often advised since that is when the baby is developing rapidly and medications are most likely to cause serious issues.
What you Can Do at Home to Combat Allergies and Asthma During your Pregnancy
- Know your triggers and avoid them. Keep cats and dogs away if your pet allergies are an issue. You may need to avoid visiting friends who have pets in the house while pregnant.
- Avoid cigarette smoke. Secondhand smoke can exacerbate allergy symptoms and is bad for expectant mothers to be around anyway.
- Keep your home clean and dry in order to minimize dust mites and mold spores in your home. Wipe down dusty spots, keep areas vacuumed and change your sheets and wash them in hot water at least weekly.
- Minimize dust catchers like thick carpets, stuffed animals and knickknacks.
- Avoid chemical irritants such as paints, paint thinners or other such products. If you are fixing up the nursery, get someone else to paint if it's irritating to you and be sure to let the room air out properly.
- Use a Neti pot or nasal wash to help keep your nasal passages clear. These products are relatively cheap and simple to use once you get used to the idea. Use them in the morning and before bed for best results. Just be sure to clean the pot out properly and keep it sanitized.
- Exercise daily, which helps prevent nasal inflammation.
- Use nasal strips at night to help breathing as they are medication free and safe for pregnant and nursing moms.
- Use a saline nasal spray. Unlike the decongestant sprays, you can use these liberally and daily without worry. Also you don't have to worry about any rebound symptoms when you stop using them.
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