Claritin is generally safe to take during pregnancy. However, a person should consult a healthcare professional about suitable medications and dosages for allergies during pregnancy.

Many antihistamines are suitable for a pregnant person to take. However, some, such as decongestants, may pose some risk to the pregnant person and fetus.

This article examines which medications are safe to take during pregnancy, their side effects, risks, and more. It also looks at non-medicated treatments for hay fever and other allergies.

A boy touching a pregnant person's belly.Share on Pinterest
Jennifer Bogle/Stocksy

A pregnant person should review all medications with a doctor, including over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications.

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that most antihistamines are safe for pregnant people and pose no significant risk for congenital abnormalities.

Some pregnancy-safe medications include loratadine and cetirizine. These second-generation antihistamines have fewer side effects, such as drowsiness.

However, researchers need to investigate certain medications more thoroughly. Some medications may carry some risks.

In particular, a pregnant person should avoid using decongestants, especially alongside antihistamines.

Learn more

Learn more about pregnancy and allergies.

If a pregnant person has mild allergy symptoms, it may be best to avoid medicated treatments.

However, in general, second-generation antihistamines are safe to take during pregnancy.

These include:

  • loratadine (Claritin)
  • cetirizine (Zyrtec)

Doctors sometimes recommend corticosteroid nasal sprays if a pregnant person has more severe symptoms.

Other medications that may be suitable during pregnancy include chlorpheniramine and promethazine, but these may not be the first medications a doctor recommends.

A person should consult a doctor before taking any medications during pregnancy. Some medications may not be safe to take, depending on the person’s overall health and trimester.

A person should also consult a doctor before taking medication while nursing. This is because some medications pass through the milk and can affect the infant.

This table shows the safety and risk category levels of some allergy medications.

Risk category B means that there are no acceptable studies on how the medication affects humans, but animal studies showed no risk to the fetus.

Medication Brand name Safe to take during pregnancy?Safe to take while nursing? Pregnancy risk category
CetirizineAlleroff, ZyrtecyesCetirizine passes through to breast milk. Small and occasional doses are acceptable, but prolonged use can cause drowsiness in the infant or a decrease in milk supply. B
LoratadineClaritin yesLoratadine passes through milk, so a person should take minimal doses over a short period. B
DiphenhydramineBenadrylyes, but it should not be the first optionConsult a doctor, as the medication may pass through to the milk and cause drowsiness. B
FexofenadineAllegradoctors do not usually prescribe it during pregnancy (there are alternatives with more data)Fexofenadine might decrease milk supply, especially alongside pseudoephedrine. It can pass through the milk, so a person should monitor the infant closely for drowsiness and jitters. no data
ChlorpheniramineChlor-Trimetonyes (A person can take it during pregnancy, but they should consider no-drowsy medications first.)Chlorpheniramine may pass through milk, causing drowsiness in the infant. A person should take minimal doses for short periods. no data
PromethazinePhenerganyes (Doctors may prescribe it off-label for morning sickness, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it for this purpose.)Consult a doctor. no data

Most antihistamines are safe to take during pregnancy. However, other medications may carry some risks.

A pregnant person should avoid taking decongestants like Sudafed, particularly alongside antihistamines.

People should also avoid starting allergy shots while pregnant. However, if they started the shots before becoming pregnant, they may continue them at the current dosage or lower.

A pregnant person with allergy symptoms may wish to avoid taking any medication. This may be the safest option, particularly if a person has mild symptoms.

There are many non-medicated home remedies to relieve allergy symptoms during pregnancy. These include the following.

Avoiding triggers

People can take steps to reduce their allergy symptoms by allergy-proofing the home and avoiding any potential triggers, such as pet dander, pollen, or dust.

Keeping windows and doors closed during the spring and summer months may prevent pollen from entering the home. Vacuuming frequently can also clean the home of dust, spores, fur, and other potential irritants.

Investing in an air purifier may also help to filter any spores, pollen, or dust particles in the air. Air conditioning may help keep the house less humid, preventing mold growth and dust mites.

A person should also identify and remove any potential triggers from the home, such as plants, bedding, soft toys, or damp areas.

Nasal irrigation

Nasal irrigation involves flushing the nasal passages with sterile water. This can help remove mucus or allergen particles in the nose, reducing allergy symptoms.

To do this, a person can purchase a neti pot designed for this purpose. After filling the pot with sterile water, they should lean over a sink or tub before trickling the water through the spout and into one nostril.

They can repeat on the other side once the nasal passage is clear.

A person should always use sterile water for nasal irrigation to reduce the risk of infection. To do this, they can boil tap water for 3–5 minutes and let it cool completely. They can also purchase sterile or “distilled” water online or in stores, ensuring the seal is not broken.

Saline nasal sprays

A 2016 study recommended using saline nasal sprays to effectively relieve allergy symptoms during pregnancy. They only contain sterile salt water, so they are safe to use and carry no risk to the pregnant person or fetus.

A person can purchase saline nasal sprays online or in stores. However, a person should carefully check the product description to see if it contains other ingredients.

Elevating the head

Elevating the head while sleeping or resting may help relieve some allergy symptoms, such as nasal congestion.

A person can do this by using extra pillows or a prop when lying in bed.

This section answers some frequently asked questions about allergy medication and pregnancy.

Is it safe to take antihistamines in early pregnancy?

Although most antihistamines are safe to take during pregnancy, some doctors recommend waiting until after the first trimester.

However, a 2020 review did not find evidence that taking antihistamines in the first trimester causes congenital abnormalities.

Will Claritin dry up breast milk?

Yes, Claritin (loratadine) can dry up a person’s milk supply, particularly if they take it alongside a decongestant such as pseudoephedrine.

Claritin can also pass through into the milk, so a person should exercise caution if they take loratadine while nursing. They should take low doses over short periods.

However, researchers consider Claritin safe, and it does not appear to cause adverse effects in infants.

Can you take allergy medicine while trying to get pregnant?

There is limited evidence of whether allergy medication affects a person’s ability to conceive.

However, most antihistamines will not cause congenital abnormalities in infants, even during early pregnancy.

A person trying to get pregnant should review all medications with a doctor or healthcare professional.

Claritin is safe to take during pregnancy and nursing.

However, a person should always consult a doctor before taking any medication while pregnant or nursing.

While most antihistamines are safe, other medications, such as decongestants, may pose a risk to the pregnant person and fetus.

There are also safe and effective non-medicated remedies for allergy symptoms. A pregnant person may wish to try saline nasal sprays, nasal irrigation, and allergy-proofing the home.