It is spring time and many people have allergy symptoms. Tania Tetz, a teratogen information specialist at the Utah Department of Health's MotherToBaby Utah / Pregnancy Risk Line, says she gets calls every day about allergies. There are some medications pregnant and breastfeeding moms can use for allergy relief.
Allergy medications, like antihistamines such as Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), Allegra (fexofenadine), and Benadryl (diphenhydramine), do not cause an increased risk for problems in pregnancy. Nasal sprays, like Flonase (fluticasone) and Nasonex (mometasone), deliver the medication right to the nose and don’t get into the bloodstream as much. They usually have fewer side effects and can also be used in pregnancy, so they are a good option if mom has concerns.
Sudafed (phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine) can be used in pregnancy as long as mom doesn’t have high blood pressure. Allergy medications may get into the milk in small amounts, usually less than 1%, but usually not enough to cause side effects in the infant. Antihistamines may reduce the milk supply temporarily while the medication is in mom’s system but the milk level will return to normal, if it did go down, after the medication is out of her system in a few hours. Nasal sprays do not have any effect on milk supply nor baby.
Allergies, illnesses, lack of sleep, and other stresses may also reduce the milk supply temporarily, so we want to make sure mom is taking care of her health. If you have questions about medications in pregnancy and breastfeeding, visit MotherToBaby.Utah.gov.