Are antihistamines bad for my pregnancy?

By Missy Jaramillo

Are antihistamines bad for my pregnancy?

With fall revving up, many people are experiencing a surge of seasonal allergies, and pregnant women are no different. While antihistamines are popular over-the-counter remedies for these annoying conditions, recent attention has been paid to the effects of antihistamines on expectant mothers.

Previous studies have linked the use of antihistamines with various birth defects when taken by pregnant women, and many doctors have passed this advice on to their patients.

Recently, however, researchers from Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center studied the relationship between antihistamines and pregnancy in more than 20,000 different women. The study used a considerable amount of data and was unable to find a specific link to baby development and the most commonly used antihistamines. Researchers looked at both over-the-counter and prescribed varieties.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, suggests that the results from previous studies may have been due to other factors, or simply to chance. Even so, the authors don't recommend pregnant women take these medications without consulting their obstetricians.

"While our findings provide reassurance about the relative safety of many of these medications in relation to a number of common birth defects, more information is needed," Allen Mitchell, M.D., explained to the source. "As is the case for all types of medications, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should consult with their health care provider before taking any medicines, whether they are prescribed or OTC."

Are you having trouble with seasonal or nonseasonal allergies during your pregnancy? Let us know about your experience in the comments section!