Pregnancy is an extremely special time in any woman’s life. However, along with the joys of pregnancy come many added responsibilities and restrictions regarding diet, exercise and medication. Pregnancy can make your immune system lose strength and make the body susceptible to a number of infections and diseases. Allergies, cough and cold, fever and sleeplessness are some of the illnesses that can affect your body during pregnancy. To deal with these problems easily, the most common medicine that would be recommended to you would be Benadryl, which is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Benadryl is extremely popular as it can be easily obtained without any doctor’s prescription.
What is Benadryl?
Benadryl is an antihistamine medicine. It is used to treat allergy symptoms and prevent fever. Histamine causes itching, sneezing, runny nose and fever. Benadryl as an antihistamine counters these symptoms and provides fast relief. Benadryl is also known as diphenhydramine, which is the main component of Benadryl. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved diphenhydramine under the name Benadryl in 1946. Benadryl can be consumed as gelcaps, in liquid form, and most commonly as solid tablets. Benadryl has also been proven to treat bone and joint pain, according to a study published in the scientific journal Pharmacology in 2013.
A Guide for Benadryl During Pregnancy
Is Benadryl safe during pregnancy?
In National Birth Defects Prevention Study (1997-2003), the authors examined associations between maternal use of 14 antihistamines during early pregnancy and 26 isolated major birth defects. It has been proven that there is no direct relationship with consumption of Benadryl, or any other antihistamine, and birth defects in the children whose mothers consumed the medicine during their pregnancy.
Benadryl is commonly prescribed to treat allergy symptoms, which mostly include runny nose, itching, sneezing, lacrimation, rashes and hives. Occasionally doctors may prescribe Benadryl to lessen anxiety in pregnant women.
Each human body is different; hence no two pregnancies are similar. When a doctor monitors the health of the woman and prescribes antihistamines, they are safe to be taken by women.
According to reports by National Birth Defects Prevention Study, in some cases the drug can pass through the placenta of the pregnant woman and come into direct contact with the child in the womb of the mother. However, no direct correlation has been established by research about the adverse effects of antihistamines that can be said with certainty. There is no contribution of the drug Benadryl to the negative birth defects or autistic behavior in the child.
What are the possible restrictions to consuming Benadryl during pregnancy?
Pregnancy makes the immune system less strong than usual in the woman’s body. This makes women more susceptible to certain allergies and viral and bacterial diseases than other times. Benadryl is a popular over the counter medicine and it is, in most cases, safe to be consumed by women during pregnancy. However, if you have certain complications during your pregnancy like high blood pressure, preterm labour, chronic health conditions like diabetes, multiple gestation (when you are giving birth to twins, triplets, or more fetuses), giving birth at age more than 35, polycystic ovary syndrome, autoimmune disease, kidney disease, thyroid, it is highly recommended that you talk to a doctor about your medical history and then consume antihistamine medication in the dosage prescribed by the doctor.
According to a study published in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, even obesity is a high risk factor and no medication should be taken during pregnancy without medical suggestion.
Benadryl can cause side effects like fatigue, dizziness, constipation, dry mouth and drowsiness, which are undesirable conditions during pregnancy. Hence it is important to be aware of these side effects as the sedative effects of Benadryl can even cause blurry vision and a lightheaded feeling, which if the patient is not aware of can lead to fatal injury and complications.
What should be my dosage of Benadryl if it is prescribed by my doctor?
Even if you have been prescribed Benadryl by your doctor, be careful about the dosage that has been prescribed too. Benadryl should not be taken more than once in six hours by pregnant women, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. During the second and third trimester, the dosage should be 25mg with every six hours gap. Each Benadryl tablet contains 25 mg of the chemical diphenhydramine. During pregnancy one should be extra careful about the amount of medication and dosage taken.
Can taking Benadryl pose health risks?
According to the Food and Drug Administration, Benadryl is classified as a Category B medication during pregnancy. Category B medications are believed to pose no risk to the unborn fetus in a pregnant woman. Category A medicines are the ones that are considered the safest during pregnancy and research has shown they have no adverse effects when consumed during pregnancy. However, no medication is 100% safe and should not be consumed when it is not consulted by a doctor, especially not during pregnancy.
There are some reports which linked consumption of Benadryl to an increased risk of a baby being born with a cleft lip or palate, but this possibility is almost none. One should try to consume as minimal medication as possible, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Apart from Benadryl, there are many other medications which have an antihistamine effect and are over the counter medicines, but some of these medications are combined with decongestants. You should be careful to not consume medication containing decongestants, especially in nose sprays and tablets, as allergy medication containing decongestants have been directly linked to causing birth effects.
Benadryl is a safer option to be consumed to treat common symptoms of allergies. However as pregnancy is a sensitive time women should be more careful about the side effects and symptoms of medications. Hence Benadryl should be consumed during pregnancy only after consulting your doctor. You should also follow the additional restrictions of dosage that has been advised.