Can I Be Tested for Allergies During Pregnancy?
If you have symptoms but aren't sure what triggers them, getting tested can make your treatment more effective. Here's what experts have to say about allergy tests while you're pregnant.
This test, also called RAST, is completely safe for Mom and baby. "It's performed outside of the body, and therefore there's no risk of an allergic reaction," says Mike Tingale, spokesperson for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. It's pretty simple -- a small amount of blood (think one test tube) is drawn. Using this sample, clinicians check for about 20 allergens; you get results within a few days. Most insurance companies cover the test, but check in advance to be sure.
A small needle is used to make a series of shallow scratches on the forearm, which are then exposed to potential allergens. If you're allergic to a substance, the test site will become red and swollen. This test is generally considered safe for pregnant women, but there's a slight chance of a reaction -- including hives, shortness of breath, or closing of the throat. For this reason, many allergists don't perform it on pregnant women.
Originally published in the September 2008 issue of American Baby magazine.
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