|Some women already suffer from seasonal allergies, which may increase or decrease in intensity during their pregnancy. For others, it may come as a shock to be affected by the all-too-common allergies for the first time. According to the World Allergy Organization Journal (2017) a fifth of pregnant women are affected by allergies. In the US alone, 18–30% of women in the childbearing age experience allergies to some degree.
Some common symptoms include: nasal congestion, itchy nose, constant sneezing, watery eyes and red, itchy or swelling skin. It’s important to do an allergy diagnosis and management during your pregnancy to ensure your and your baby’s wellbeing.
As for its diagnosis, an in vitro allergy test is most optimal during pregnancy. Try to take a rain check on any skin testing or provocation test until after your baby’s born. Regarding its management, prevention and caution will always be the best. Firstly, identify what is triggering your allergies and try to avoid completely or minimize your exposure to them.
Always check with your doctor before going to your local over-the-counter remedies. As for home remedies the Mayo Clinic suggests the following:
• Rinse your nasal passages. Dissolve ¼ teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Mix well, then place it in a Neti pot, bottle or syringe (go to your local pharmacy). Over a sink, place the syringe in your upper nostril while holding the other nostril shut and squeeze. The solution will then flow through your nasal passage and into your mouth, spit it right out, blow your nose and repeat with the other nostril. This works because it increases the speed and coordination of the tiny hair-like structures inside your nose that help push your mucus and remove allergens and irritants.
• Breathing hot steam from the shower or from a humidifier can be a huge help. Watch out for the bacteria that can build up in your humidifier though!
• Massage your sinuses to relieve some of your congestion.
Whatever may be your degree of allergy, before resorting to self-medication, check with your doctor first, and together come up with a management plan that’s well suited both for you and your baby.
You’re at your obstetrician’s office when you get the surprise of a lifetime: you hear not one, but two (or