Expecting moms are likely ready to battle sore backs, swollen feet and general exhaustion that come with pregnancy. But when those run-of-the-mill health nuisances, such as seasonal allergies, arise, many are unsure about how to treat them without harming themselves or their babies.
While many may not realize it, allergies are quite common during pregnancy. In fact, one-in-five expecting women suffer from allergic conditions that can wreak havoc on enjoying pregnancy. New or existing allergies can manifest themselves in expecting moms through uncomfortable symptoms, including sneezing and rashes. Pregnancy also naturally raises histamine levels in the body due to the increase in blood volume. This increase causes the “stuffy nose” that pregnant women often experience.
Dr. Manisha Purohit, an Obstetrician-Gynecologist at Arizona Associates for Women’s Health, who is also on the medical staff at Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital, has key advice for expectant moms who fall victim to seasonal allergies. These tips will ease allergy symptoms and provide a little relief. Among them:
- Wash your hands. Everyone touches their face multiple times an hour, so frequent hand washing will help prevent the transfer of dust, pollen, dander, and germs from irritating or contaminating already-sensitive eye or nasal tissue.
- Avoid smoke. Cigarette smoke induces allergies, and more importantly, it’s especially bad for the baby.
- Be mindful of household chemicals. Expectant moms have an overwhelming need to nest and provide their baby with a clean environment, but many cleaning products contain elements that can trigger allergic reactions.
- Steer clear of pollen. Pollen affects your nasal passages, throat and eyes. When venturing outside, wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes, and remove shoes and outdoor clothing as soon as possible when you get inside.
- Avoid dust. As preparing for baby continues, you can avoid stirring up dust by wet mopping, using a HEPA filter, or seeing if a partner or friend can help with the cleaning.
- Eat mindfully. Food allergies do not change during pregnancy. Make sure to carefully check labels.
- Watch contact with pets. Dander from cats can be particularly troublesome. Ask family or friends to brush your pets and vacuum or sweep up this dander for you. If you’re especially uncomfortable, you can make at least one room in your home pet-free.