Q: What allergy medications are safe to take while I'm pregnant?
A: While many women report that their allergies improve or disappear during pregnancy, some still experience symptoms. If you're among them, you should know that there plenty of ways to relieve symptoms both with and without medication.First, your best defense against allergy symptoms is to avoid the triggers that cause them. Of course, you can't control what happens outside, but you can reduce your exposure in your home by wearing a mask when you dust or vacuum, keeping pets out of your bedroom, and protecting your mattress and pillows with special covers to keep out dust mites. Using a dehumidifier to keep the air in your home under 50 percent humidity can also help fend off mites and mold. If you're still suffering -- and if your allergies disrupt your sleep or ability to work -- talk to your doctor about which medications are right for you. Antihistamines like Chlor-Trimeton and Benadryl are safe for pregnant women to take (as are the less-sedating Claritin and Zyrtec). Over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays, like Afrin, can also be used while you're pregnant (although these can actually make symptoms worse if you take them for too long, so following the dosing instructions is important). Women with more severe symptoms may also consider taking a prescription nasal spray, like Rhinocort. As always, you shouldn't take any medications during pregnancy without your doctor's approval.