Article at a Glance:

  • Benadryl is an allergy medication and antihistamine used to also help with colds and hay fever.
  • Yes, it is generally safe to take Benadryl while pregnant.
  • However, pregnant women should consult their doctors before taking any over-the-counter medication, including Benadryl.
  • The FDA has classified Benadryl as a medication that poses no risks to humans during pregnancy.
  • Alternatives to Benadryl during pregnancy include using a neti pot, wearing a mask when allergens are high, using saline spray and trying acupuncture.

Is Benadryl Safe to Take While Pregnant?

When you’re pregnant, you may have questions about the safety of certain medications, including medications available over-the-counter. Many over-the-counter medications are considered safe during pregnancy, while others aren’t. One medicine commonly used is Benadryl. However, is Benadryl safe to take while pregnant? In general, can you take allergy medicine while pregnant? Benadryl is a brand-name allergy medication, and it’s classified as an antihistamine. The active ingredient in Benadryl is called diphenhydramine. Diphenhydramine can help with symptoms of not only allergies but also a cold and hay fever. Some of the symptoms people might use Benadryl for can include itchy, watery eyes and nose, a cough and sneezing. In some cases, the active ingredient in Benadryl is also used to help people who struggle with nausea, vomiting and motion sickness. Benadryl and other similar allergy medicines are available as liquids, tablets or capsules.

When someone is pregnant, they may have a weaker immune system than normal. This could leave pregnant women more vulnerable to certain allergies and illnesses that they might consider treating with Benadryl. For the most part, Benadryl is considered safe to take during pregnancy. However, no medication, over-the-counter or otherwise, should be used without consulting a medical professional first. It’s also important to follow dosage instructions very carefully when using Benadryl. Benadryl dosage recommendations usually instruct taking it every four to six hours as needed. Side effects of Benadryl can include drowsiness and dizziness. It’s important to be aware of these possible side effects to avoid driving or doing other things that could be dangerous if drowsiness occurs. Benadryl can have sedative effects, and it can also cause symptoms such as feeling lightheaded, blurry vision and nervousness.

Will Taking Benadryl Cause Birth Defects?

The U.S. FDA classifies Benadryl as a Category B medication during pregnancy. Category B medications are ones that are believed to pose no risk to humans during pregnancy, including the fetus. It is important to realize that no medication is ever 100 percent safe. Benadryl isn’t a Category A medicine. Category A medicines are the ones that are considered the safest during pregnancy with no known adverse reactions. While it’s unlikely Benadryl would cause birth defects, always consult a physician first. There are some instances where the use of Benadryl or diphenhydramine in the first trimester has been linked to an increased risk of a baby being born with a cleft lip or palate, although this risk is very low. Along with trying to avoid Benadryl during the first trimester, it’s also best to use allergy medications as minimally as possible during pregnancy.

Can you take allergy medicine while pregnant aside from Benadryl? For the most part, medications classified as antihistamines are believed to be safe during pregnancy. Claritin and Zyrtec are two options frequently used. Certain decongestant nose sprays available over-the-counter may be an option as well. Speaking with a medical provider can help a pregnant woman determine which option may be the best for her symptoms and pose the lowest amount of risk. Allergy medicines that contain decongestants should likely be avoided. Some antihistamines are combined with decongestants. Decongestants have been linked to an increased risk of birth defects.

What Are Some Alternatives for Treating Allergies While Pregnant?

Even though for the most part Benadryl and many over-the-counter allergy medicines are possibly safe during pregnancy, natural alternatives may be something to explore as well. Some women may try to take no medications unless absolutely necessary during pregnancy. Medical professionals might also recommend trying alternatives to medicine first. One non-medication option for allergies is the use of a neti pot. With a neti pot, individuals can clear allergens and irritants from their nasal passage. It’s also called sinus irrigation. Other allergy prevention strategies can include avoiding triggers or wearing a mask when certain allergen levels are high, or air quality is low. Some pregnant women may opt to stay indoors on days when there are high levels of pollen for example.

Showering at night can be a good way to get pollen and other allergens out of your hair and to keep them out of your bed. Trying to stay relaxed can be helpful as well. Stress has been shown to raise cortisol, which is a hormone that can trigger an allergic response. A saline spray can be a good way to clear the nasal passages of allergens, and these don’t contain medication. Keeping sheets and bedding clean, regularly vacuuming, and using mattress and pillow covers can all be helpful to combat allergens without medicine. For pregnant women who really struggle with allergies, their healthcare provider might recommend something like acupuncture. Some people do feel acupuncture helps with their allergies and also helps them relax. A medical professional might be able to work with you, if you’re pregnant, to create other anti-allergy solutions that don’t require the use of medication.

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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.