Can I Take Benadryl While Pregnant?
Spring is here and the flowers are blooming. But if you suffer from seasonal allergies, the season’s arrival may not be as welcome. When you’re pregnant, you may wonder whether or not it’s okay to take Benadryl or other common OTC allergy medications.
Turns out, it’s fine to take Benadryl while pregnant and most antihistamines.
Ahead, we discuss whether it is safe for you to take Benadryl while pregnant and what precautions to keep in mind if you do.
Is Benadryl Safe to Take While Pregnant?
Benadryl is generally considered safe for pregnant women to take. Benadryl is classified as Category B by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that animal studies have not found any negative association on the fetus or birth defects, but there have not been any human studies.
Category B drugs are considered safe to use but it’s important to remember that we don’t have any human studies to confirm their safety completely. It’s advisable to take only as much as you really need while you are pregnant. Always speak to your healthcare provider before taking Benadryl or other allergy medications during pregnancy.
Some initial studies found that Benadryl during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of birth defects such as cleft lip or palate, but these studies have since been debunked.
What Is Benadryl?
Beneadryl is a brand name for diphenhydramine, an antihistamine. Antihistamines work to block histamines, which your body releases when you are injured or when a potentially dangerous substance enters your body.
Histamines help keep you safe and healthy, but an allergic reaction occurs when your immune system releases histamines when it is not really necessary. That’s when you get allergy symptoms like watery eyes, hay fever, sneezing, and hives. Antihistamines block your histamine receptors, relieving your symptoms.
Benadryl is usually taken in tablet form and it also comes in a chewable form and as a topical application.
Benefits of Benadryl During Pregnancy
The main benefit of taking Benadryl while pregnant is symptom relief. Allergies can be very bothersome, and many women find that their symptoms are even worse during pregnancy. Because Benadryl works to shut off your histamine receptors, it’s able to target the full range of allergy symptoms, whether that’s a skin rash or a runny nose.
Benadryl can also be a fairly safe way to help reduce morning sickness. Antihistamines also block messages to the brain causing nausea and motion sickness. It may also help you sleep better if you are struggling with pregnancy-related insomnia.
Potential Side Effects of Taking Benadryl While Pregnant
Benedryl comes with a few side effects that you should know about and monitor if you take this medication while you are pregnant.
Benadryl can cause constipation. This may be unwelcome, especially if your pregnancy is already making you feel constipated or if your bowel movement is uncomfortable.
For this reason, it’s important to limit how much Benadryl you take, and you may want to push through your allergy symptoms just a little longer.
One side effect of taking Benadryl is a sedating effect. This is important to be aware of, especially if you are taking care of other young children. You may want to see how the medication affects you with another adult present. Even if you have taken Benadryl before, you may react more extremely during pregnancy, particularly if you are already feeling fatigued.
Taking allergy medicine may lead to low blood pressure which may make you feel dizzy. If you feel dizzy after taking antihistamines, sit down, wherever you are. Blood pressure changes are a common pregnancy complication and should be monitored by your medical provider
Fainting is common in pregnancy and you can get medical help if this happens, but to keep yourself and your baby safe, you want to avoid falling if you become too dizzy or you lose consciousness. Monitor yourself if taking Benadryl while pregnant.
Some people get a dry mouth when taking antihistamine medications. If you are suffering from morning sickness or dysgeusia (a change in your taste buds that can happen during pregnancy), having a dry mouth can exacerbate your symptoms.
Safety Precautions When Taking Benadryl While Pregnant
There are some important safety precautions to keep in mind if you decide to take Benadryl while you are pregnant. We have broken them down here:
Consult Your Doctor About All Medications
Benadryl is generally considered safe during pregnancy but every woman and every pregnancy is different. We advise getting in touch with your OB/GYN before starting any new medications while you are pregnant.
Stick to the Recommended Dose of Benadryl
Do not exceed the recommended dose of your medication. The Category B classification looks only at the dosage listed on the bottle. Taking more has not been proven safe.
Be Aware of How Benadryl Reacts with Other Medications
Other meds that you are already taking may contain diphenhydramine. It is considered not safe to use more than one medication containing doxylamine.
For example, sleep medications like Unisom contain diphenhydramine. Mixing Benadryl with Unisom can cause dangerous interactions and exacerbate side effects.
Alternatives to Taking Benadryl While Pregnant
Not everyone is comfortable taking Category B medications during pregnancy.
Some women choose to be more conservative about what they put into their body during the first trimester. The months of early pregnancy are the most vulnerable and if you’re concerned, you may want to hold off on taking allergy medication until you have passed the first trimester of pregnancy.
Or, you may choose to forgo Benadryl all the way through your third trimester. Rest assured there are some safer alternatives that can help with symptom relief.
Over the Counter (OTC) Alternatives to Benadryl
Natural Allergy Symptom Treatments
Some people find relief from a stuffy or runny nose when they wash their nasal passages out using a neti pot. You can also try adding honey to your diet. Local honey seems to be the best at combatting seasonal allergies.
There are a few supplements that can help relieve allergy symptoms. Try adding vitamin C or spirulina to your pregnancy supplement protocol.
That being said, many supplements are contraindicated during pregnancy or we don’t have enough research to say whether they are safe. Never take a supplement while you are pregnant without first checking with your healthcare provider.
Can I Take Benadryl While Breastfeeding?
You should not take Benadryl while breastfeeding your baby. Benadryl can make you feel drowsy and unable to safely care for an infant.
Benadryl also passes through your breast milk, where it can make your baby feel drowsy or dizzy. Babies need to be alert so that they can take in a full feed of breast milk, reducing their risk of dehydrating or developing jaundice.
If seasonal allergies are knocking you out, it’s probably fine to take Benadryl during pregnancy. Just remember to stick to the recommended dosage, monitor yourself for side effects, and always ask your doctor before taking this medication.
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