Can you take hay fever tablets when pregnant? Antihistamines advice during pregnancy, and how to ease symptoms

There are numerous different tablets which can be taken to relieve the symptoms of hay fever

Hay fever season is now upon us, with many of those suffering from the pollen allergy taking over-the-counter medication to relieve symptoms.

But can you take hay fever tablets if you’re pregnant?

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The NHS explains that chlorphenamine, which is an antihistamine medicine that relieves the symptoms of allergies, isn't normally recommended in pregnancy (Photo: Shutterstock)
The NHS explains that chlorphenamine, which is an antihistamine medicine that relieves the symptoms of allergies, isn't normally recommended in pregnancy (Photo: Shutterstock)

Can I take hay fever tablets if I’m pregnant?

There are numerous different tablets which can be taken to relieve the symptoms of hay fever.

However, the NHS explains that chlorphenamine, which is an antihistamine medicine that relieves the symptoms of allergies, isn't normally recommended in pregnancy.

Chlorphenamine is also known by the brands Allercalm, Allerief, Hayleve and Piriton, and when mixed with other medicines, it can be called Cofsed Linctus, Galpseud Plus Linctus and Haymine.

Although there's no firm evidence that it's harmful to an unborn baby, there isn't enough information to be sure it's safe.

Instead, a non-drowsy antihistamine called loratadine is normally used to treat hay fever symptoms first because there's more information to say that it's safe.

The NHS says you should “talk to your doctor about the benefits and possible harms of taking chlorphenamine. It'll also depend on how many weeks pregnant you are and the reason you need to take chlorphenamine.”

For more information about how chlorphenamine can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, you can read this leaflet on the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPS) website.

Chlorphenamine is sometimes used during breastfeeding, but non-drowsy antihistamines such as loratadine and cetirizine are normally used first because there's more information to say they're safe.

The NHS says you should tell your doctor if you’re:

- trying to get pregnant

- pregnant

- breastfeeding

How can I relieve my hay fever symptoms?

If you are unable to take hay fever tablets due to pregnancy, there are other ways you can both relieve symptoms.

The NHS suggests the following:

- put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen

- wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes

- shower and change your clothes after you have been outside to wash pollen off

- stay indoors whenever possible

- keep windows and doors shut as much as possible

- vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth

- buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter

You can also speak to your pharmacist if you’re suffering with hay fever symptoms. They can give advice and suggest the best treatments to help with your symptoms.

There are also things you can avoid doing to prevent making hay fever symptoms worse including:

- not cutting grass or walking on grass

- not spending too much time outside

- not keeping fresh flowers in the house

- not smoking or being around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse

- not drying clothes outside – they can catch pollen

- not letting pets into the house if possible – they can carry pollen indoors