Tips on how to minimise pollen exposure while pregnant
Please consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicines, including any that you may buy without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop, while you are pregnant.
Allergy symptoms in pregnancy can actually increase by 10‐30% making conditions like hayfever even more uncomfortable than usual. This is believed to be caused by an increase in circulating blood volume and hormonal influences on nasal secretions. Those affected will usually return back to their pre‐pregnancy state post‐partum. In contrast, some pregnant women find an improvement in their hayfever symptoms.1 For those who are not so lucky, hayfever in pregnancy can pose a problem as medications that may have been used before may not be suitable now. But there are many other ways to help manage hayfever while you’re pregnant.
Minimise exposure to allergy triggers
If pollen is your trigger:
- Check the pollen forecast on the Telfast Hayfever Meter and try to stay indoors if pollen counts are high.
- Smear petroleum jelly on the inside of your nose to prevent pollen from irritating your nasal lining.
- Wear sunglasses outdoors and splash your eyes with cold water often to flush out any pollen.
- Stay indoors whenever you can during spring, on windy days and after thunderstorms.2
- Have a shower and wash your hair before bed so hayfever symptoms do not interfere with your sleep.
- If dust mites are the culprits – cover mattresses and pillows with dust‐proof covers, wash bedding weekly in hot water, avoid having blinds, carpets, rugs, wool blankets and upholstered furniture, and keep pets out of the bedroom.3
- If mould is the cause of your sniffling and sneezing – make sure bathrooms are well ventilated and install an exhaust fan if necessary, quickly repair any plumbing leaks, clean fridge door seals and drip pans regularly and throw away, give away or recycle dust collectors such as old newspapers, magazines, clothing or bedding.4
- If animal dander is your trigger – Keep pets preferably outside, but definitely out of the bedrooms, and when it comes to your pet’s grooming, get someone without an animal allergy to bathe and brush pets outdoors. Installing an air cleaner with a HEPA filter to central heating or air‐conditioning is also helpful.5
- Try relaxation methods to help manage any day to day stress, as there appears to be a clear link between stress and the severity of hayfever symptoms.6 Attend a specialised pregnancy yoga class for tips on breathing and meditation techniques and appropriate yoga poses to help reduce stress levels and therefore the severity of your hayfever symptoms.
- Consult your GP or pharmacist about appropriate hayfever medication for your individual circumstances.