Q. Allergy season is coming up, and I have bad hay fever. Is it okay to take antihistamines while trying to get pregnant?
A. If your allergies are severe, your doctor will help you weigh the risks and benefits of antihistamines, and help you choose one that’s considered safe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies some drugs as category B medications for pregnancy, meaning that studies in animals have not demonstrated a risk to a fetus, or that a risk to the fetus was shown in animal studies but not when the medication was tested in pregnant women. Common antihistamines in this category include diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratadine (Claritin), clemastine (Tavist), and cetirizine (Zyrtec).
Be aware that some over-the-counter allergy products contain multiple medicines, so consult your doctor to determine whether all ingredients are safe while pregnant. Alternative methods include saline nasal spray for a runny nose, and artificial tear drops for itchy eyes.