Can You Take Benadryl While Pregnant?

Pregnancy is beautiful, but it’s also a long and challenging road from start to finish.

The common symptoms you’ll experience after conception are similar to the common cold, like headaches or fatigue.

Benadryl is a medication used to treat the symptoms of allergies. However, you must be careful about the medications and supplements you take while pregnant. Let’s look at how safe it is to take Benadryl when pregnant and alternatives to this medication that might work just as well.

What Is Benadryl?

Benadryl is a brand name for the generic medication diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine.

Antihistamines are most commonly used to treat allergies or hay fever, as they can work to alleviate sneezing, itchiness, red and watery eyes, cough, runny nose, and other common symptoms.

Antihistamines like Benadryl work by blocking the effects of chemicals called histamines, which are produced by the body when faced with a foreign invader like allergies or the common cold.

This can lessen the severity of symptoms and enhance your comfort.

Additionally, Benadryl is often taken off label to help induce feelings of sleepiness.

Taking Benadryl might help individuals with sleep disorders to fall asleep more quickly and soundly once taken. While there are non-drowsy versions of the drug, the generic version is known to cause drowsiness as a side effect.

Benadryl can be taken over the counter and does not require a prescription. The oral tablet is taken with or without food, and dosage is based on age and medical condition.

Is Benadryl Safe When You’re Pregnant?

The good news for pregnant moms with allergies, or if you’re just having some trouble sleeping, is that Benadryl is generally considered safe to use during pregnancy at the recommended dosage.

There are no known adverse effects linked between this medication and pregnancy complications.

With that said, it is difficult to say whether or not long-term usage of the drug can affect birth complications or miscarriage. 

Can You Take Benadryl While Breastfeeding?

It’s smart to avoid certain medications and supplements if you are, or are planning to, breastfeed.

However, studies have found that all antihistamines (including Benadryl) are safe to use while breastfeeding because minimal amounts are excreted into the milk.

Is There Anyone Who Should Not Take Benadryl?

While this medication is mild enough and considered generally safe for most healthy adults, there has been some documentation of potential drug interactions.

In general, you should not combine two medications during pregnancy without first getting approval from a medical professional.

What Are the Side Effects of Benadryl?

Even though Benadryl is considered safe, that doesn’t mean it comes without any risks.

There are a few side effects to be aware of when it comes to taking this medication, and some of the most common ones include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased chest congestion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Constipation
  • Excitement

There are also some serious side effects, such as difficulty urinating or vision problems.

If you experience either of these, be sure to contact your doctor right away.

What Are Some Alternatives to Benadryl?

Benadryl is probably safe for you to take while pregnant, but if you’re still concerned or have been advised not to use it, plenty of alternatives can help you find relief safely.

For Allergies

If some pesky allergies are worsening your pregnancy symptoms, some different non-medicinal remedies might be super helpful.

The best thing to do is avoid your allergy triggers, but when that’s just not possible, there are some ways you can lessen the symptoms.

For one, use a cold compress to help with those itchy, watery eyes. Just run a washcloth under cold water and wring it out until it’s damp.

Lay it over your eyes for about 10 to 15 minutes until you feel relief.

For nasal congestion, try taking a steamy shower.

The steam can help expand and loosen your nasal passage, making it easier to expel built-up mucus inside your nose.

And if it’s a cough or a sore throat that’s nagging you, try drinking some herbal tea to soothe the throat and suppress your cough.

Just make sure it’s decaffeinated, as caffeine can lead to dehydration.

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For Trouble Sleeping

If you’re having trouble sleeping due to some of the symptoms of pregnancy, there are some non-medicinal ways that you might be able to find relief. 

For one, ensure that your bedroom is the right environment for sleeping.

Invest in some comfy pillows, comforters, blankets, and dark curtains to make your bedroom a place that will naturally foster good sleep.

Additionally, try to reduce your screen time before bed. The blue light from your phone, TV, computer, or tablet can affect your body’s circadian rhythm.

Blue light tricks your body into thinking it is still daytime, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep.

It’s also normal to want to take naps during the day when pregnant, especially if you need to make up for lost sleep at night.

However, keep naps at a maximum of 20 to 25 minutes, as these are short enough to give you a burst of energy without reaching REM sleep.

For the Common Cold

It’s common for the immune system to weaken while pregnant, making individuals more susceptible to becoming sick.

And for that reason, you might be ready to start taking some medications to alleviate the typical, inundating symptoms. However, some home remedies work just as well.

When it comes to the common cold, you can usually let it run its course.

But you can expedite the process by staying hydrated to prevent dehydration. Plus, drinking warm liquids can reduce congestion and soothe a sore throat.

You also want to take some time to rest to let your body heal. Engaging in too much activity can slow the recovery process, so use this as an excuse to chill out until you’re feeling better.

In Conclusion

Benadryl is an antihistamine medication that alleviates common cold and allergy symptoms.

It is also used off-label to help with sleep disturbances, as it can cause drowsiness. Benadryl is generally considered safe to use while pregnant, but there haven’t been enough studies to confirm this.

Like any medication, it has some side effects, so your best bet is to check with your doctor before using it.

Or, you can go with pregnancy-safe non-medicinal alternatives like using a cold compress, taking a hot shower, staying hydrated, and drinking warm liquids.

References, Studies and Sources:

Diphenhydramine: drowsy (sedating) antihistamine | NHS

Diphenhydramine | MotherToBaby

Safety of antihistamines during pregnancy and lactation | PMC

Diphenhydramine | MedlinePlus Drug Information