As if pregnant women aren’t already going through enough hormonal adjustments, they are also prone to nasal congestion and sinusitis, according to the Ask Dr. Sears website. During pregnancy, your nasal passages tend to swell, causing them to become congested. This swelling makes you feel like you have a constant cold or could lead to sinusitis.
Weigh the Risks
Although you can take certain allergy medicines while you are pregnant, it is best for your baby if you don’t take allergy medications at all. You should determine how much discomfort you are in before taking any allergy medication, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your baby is especially vulnerable to medications you take, especially during the first trimester. If you were taking regular allergy medications before you became pregnant, discuss this with your health care provider. Sometimes not taking your medications will be more serious for you than the potential risks may be for your baby.
Some medications and home remedies have not been proven harmful to your baby during pregnancy. For allergies, you can take Benadryl and Claritin, according to the Web MD website. For cold and flu, you can take Tylenol or Tylenol Cold, Sudafed, Actifed, Dristan or NeoSynephrine. Do not take a sustained action (SA) form of these drugs or the multi-symptom forms. Keep in mind that no drug is 100 percent safe to take while you are pregnant. Babies are not able to eliminate drugs as quickly as adults can, so they stay in the baby’s system longer.
Besides taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications, you may want to consider nasal sprays. You should also consult with your doctor before using any medicated spray other than a purely saline one. You can use a saline nasal spray as much as you like, according to the Mayo Clinic. One recommended nasal spray is Afrin, used only twice a day. Some inhaled nasal steroids are “probably safe,” according to the Ask Dr. Sears website. For seasonal allergies, Cromolyn is safe. This is something that works only after having taken it for a long time and will not work on a sudden stuffy nose.
The Ask Dr. Sears website offers some general advice regarding taking any drug while you are pregnant. Before taking any medication, discuss with your health care provider how much of the medication you should take. Never take more than the recommendation, hoping to alleviate your symptoms faster. Do not take a lower dose, either, as this may not be effective for you, but which can still go to the baby. Your doctor’s advice trumps anything you read in the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR).
You can take preventive actions to avoid as much nasal congestion as possible by avoiding anything that may trigger your allergies. Besides using a saline nasal spray, a Neti pot is an alternative you may want to try. You can get Neti pots in most drug stores. You fill the Neti pot with a saltwater solution, pour the saltwater through one nostril, and let it drain out through your other nostril. Physical activity also helps nasal inflammation, according to the Mayo Clinic. Nasal strips that you wear at night are another option.
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