Food Allergies and Skin Allergies During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is usually the time when, if a woman is allergic, her allergies can exacerbate and life becomes one constant sneezing and runny nose episode. However, not all of these symptoms are necessarily caused by allergies in early pregnancy. Hormones take on a life entirely their own and the result can be nasal congestion, runny nose and post nasal drip. This is called "rhinitis of pregnancy" and looks very much like allergies, but it doesn't respond to antihistamines - the condition is not caused by allergens.

Asthma and Pregnancy

If a woman had allergies prior to becoming pregnant, then there's a good chance they will not only continue throughout the pregnancy, but they may get worse. Asthma in pregnancy is a fairly common occurrence, even if a woman has never had it before. Asthma during pregnancy has a double effect, not only is the mother affected, but the asthma can cut the amount of oxygen the baby receives which can lead to preterm birth, low birth weight, IGR (intrauterine growth retardation) and, in some cases, even death. Uncontrolled asthma in pregnancy can lead to high blood pressure, preeclampsia, severe vomiting and complications in labor and delivery. The latest research indicates that if a woman has asthma, it is far better for her to manage it with medications than to leave it untreated during pregnancy.

Another interesting facet of allergies is the connection between them and the mental state of the mother. If she is worried and nervous, there can be a tendency toward asthma or other types of allergies. While it isn't as common as physical allergens, emotional allergic reactions in pregnancy do happen. If a woman suspects that her physical reactions are the result of emotional issues, then seeing a pregnancy psychologist is a good idea.

What About Benadryl?

Because sensitivities are high, hay fever during pregnancy and allergic reactions in pregnancy are quite common. Most doctors prefer their patients do not take medications during pregnancy to avoid any risk to the unborn baby. Stuffy noses can be handled with saline solutions that are not drugs and are safe to use during pregnancy. Antihistamines, especially those that have been on the market for years, are mostly considered relatively safe. The discussion of benadryl and pregnancy has been ongoing and most doctors concur that it is likely the safest available. It is classified as Category B medication which means that it shows good safety studies in pregnancy animals, although it is not proven in humans.

Skin Allergies in Pregnancy

Skin allergies during pregnancy can suddenly crop up presenting with itching and rashes. The heightened sensitivity of the woman's body and the heavier flow of hormones can give rise to allergic reactions in pregnancy to soaps, creams, and perfumes, where there were none prior to pregnancy. Topical treatments and removing the allergens is the best way to treat such conditions. Likewise, food allergies in pregnancy can bring eating challenges. While pregnancy itself usually doesn't create allergies, it does provide a sensitive platform for them to come to the surface. If a woman recognizes that certain foods cause an allergic reaction, then the obvious decision is to eliminate them from her diet. If an anaphylactic reaction occurs and breathing becomes affected, an immediate trip to the hospital or clinic is recommended. Affected breathing can affect the baby by depriving the baby of oxygen.

Affect of Food Allergies on Mom and Babe

If a mother has allergies, does baby automatically have them as well? That depends. Allergies in babies may be the result of heredity - when either or both parents have allergies then baby likely will as well. Ninety percent of all food allergies are linked to eight food groups: eggs, milk (cow's milk, lactose intolerance), peanuts, wheat, soy, tree nuts (walnuts, Brazil nuts, and cashews), fish (such as salmon, tuna, and cod) and shellfish (like lobster, shrimp, and crab). If a pregnant woman develops food allergies during pregnancy, then they likely came as a result of one of these groups of foods. Eating from them during breastfeeding can affect both mother and baby. If baby exhibits a food allergy (seems to have trouble breathing, swelling of the face or lips, or develops severe vomiting or diarrhea after eating), the situation is critical and is an emergency. Time is of the essence so call 911 immediately for medical aid - this is not a time to call the doctor and drive to the hospital yourself.

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