The time has come (no, not THAT time! Not in labour, don’t panic)

ragweed

Back in the day when I thought I could actually time when I was going to get pregnant (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. ahahaha… ha), I had this master plan of getting knocked up in November, after the first frost, and then delivering a baby by mid-August, which would mean I’d avoid being preggo during ragweed season. This may seem a bit over-the-top to you non-allergy-sufferers who think late summer and fall is the most glorious time of the year, but in my case, I don’t just get a few sniffles, I get ITCHING OF SATANIC PROPORTIONS up in my nose, in my eyes, basically everywhere, before my body then decides that one mucus plug really isn’t enough — EVERYTHING NEEDS MUCUS, NOW. If I don’t take any meds, it’s torture; I once did a ragweed study at a hospital to make some extra cash, and when I realized I’d been dealt the placebo, I had to drop out early because it was impossible to sleep unless my face was submerged in a vat of Visine and nasal steroids. When they did the prick test on my wrist and waited to see if a spot of redness showed up, my ENTIRE ARM ended up in a huge rash.

For a while, I was on prescription-strength antihistamines, but I kept having to increase the dosage to the point where my doctor-mom actually seemed concerned about the potential for cardiac arrest. Then, in desperation, I decided to go out on a limb, do the all-natural thing, and try this nettle extract. Miraculously, it worked!

But now, it’s kind of up in the air whether or not I should be taking it. A lot of naturopaths insist it’s totally safe during pregnancy — and, in fact, is even used in hippie-oriented fertility treatments. And yet, as with many herbal remedies, there hasn’t been much in the way of real, concrete, double-blind studies to determine that it has no effect on the fetus. So I’m a bit hesitant to start taking it now.

I’ve read that Benadryl is OK for pregnant women (this site says “Benadryl is in the FDA pregnancy category B. This means that it is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby,” and my mom says it’s fine), so I guess that’s what I’ll be taking, but I’m pretty sure it can also make you super drowsy. Any of you guys have advice?? The ragweed season has begun and I’m feeling like the odds are stacked against me. I did a nasal rinse last night and woke up this morning with nostrils chock-full of grossness.

P.S. On an unrelated note, I finally heard back from the organization that accepts donated cord blood and apparently I didn’t qualify as a candidate because I’d been to Kenya. Once. For less than a week, many years ago. Apparently some weird HIV strain that doesn’t show up on blood tests (??) is prevalent there, so that’s that. Kinda bummed, but on the up side, it means we don’t have to rush to cut the umbilical cord, hence a bit more oxygen for the babe.

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15 thoughts on “The time has come (no, not THAT time! Not in labour, don’t panic)

  1. I’m sorry that you have allergies but I’m no help with what to take while pregnant (or while not pregnant).

    I wonder if my honeymoon to South Africa/Mozambique will disqualify me from donating cord blood?

    • It very well might disqualify you! Even travel to UK that accumulates to more than three weeks will mean you’re disqualified (something to do with mad cow disease)… so prepare for the “You are… NOT America’s Next Top Cord Blood Donor”. Pretty ridiculous.

      • so crazy. I spent about 4 months in the UK during college and technically because of that I am not supposed to donate blood (at least last time I checked). I didn’t even think of that with cord blood. I guess I’ll have to look into that. Can’t they test it or something????

  2. You know, I suffered from seasonal allergies (hay fever) about six or seven years ago. It was very severe and left me very sick every time. Antihistamine stopped working the second year. I went to acupuncture for about ten sessions and somehow got healed ever since. Every year I would have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Worth thinking about?

  3. Oh, the joy of allergies!! Honestly, I think scheduling an appointment with your allergist/naturopath is a good idea. Point out the fact that you not being able to breathe/function because you’re pregnant is not good for either you or the baby (seriously, I would use those exact words). Then press for something that will work. I have no idea if nettles are something to avoid during pregnancy, but if the extract works I would find someone who knows this answer. After all, breathing and not having full-body hives is a very good thing.

    Bummer on the cord blood.

  4. I am an allergy sufferer too! It got much worse when I carried my older boys, to the point it triggered asthma.. I had to take rx strength drugs.. While I was inducing lactation for the new baby, I had to start allergy meds again.. I suffered for 6 months without them, because here’s the kicker.. They dry up breastmilk production! :-/ so I had to stop nursing in order to breathe.. Definitely talk to the Dr. to see what your options are. And benadryl definitely makes you drowsy!!

  5. Oh I really do feel bad for you. My husband has severe allergies and he itches so bad he can’t sleep. I hope the benadryl works for you!

    Also, it bugs me how hard it is to donate. I tried to donate blood once but I was disqualified for some reason or another, and I wanted to donate because I have a rare blood type!

  6. I had a super crazy allergic reaction to the progesterone in oil injections (delicious sesame oil) and my clinic said to feel free to take Benadryl. Usually it makes me super drowsy but frankly, I was so uncomfortable that it really didn’t phase me. Cures what ails ya.

  7. Yeesh. I have absolutely no advice, being one of those (evil) lucky people who doesn’t have allergies, but just wanted to offer sympathy. I have a friend who basically doesn’t go outside during ragweed season, and it sucks.

  8. I have become sort of allergic to my cats. Plus I get hayfever and just general seasonal allergies. Nothing as terrible as you have, though. I have been meaning to ask my OB if I can take anything for allergies. I am hesitant to take benadryl because I am so freaking tired already I can’t imagine taking a drug that makes me drowsy on top of it. I am hoping that zyrtec is safe.

  9. In fact, pretty much all antihistamines are fine for pregnant women. Whether the likes of loratadine, cetirizine, and fexofenadine will do anything for you is another question, of course. As someone who also has terrible, terrible allergies, you have my deepest sympathies.

    (P.S. You probably already know that but antihistamines can lower milk supply, especially the sedating ones – benadryl, cetirizine, probably hydroxyzine for all I know- and also decongestants. Again, as someone with terrible, terrible allergies, sometimes you have to take them anyways.)

  10. Not that I officially know-know yet, but I have been told Benadryl is fine.. And I was super, duper worried about it because I am allergic to EVERYTHING (including, irony of all ironies, whatever the hell they put in daytime allergy medications to make it non-drowsy).

    So yeah, ussssually Benadryl is going to make you hella-drowsy. I take it at night. On the other hand, there are some people where it makes them jittery… but just based on the level of drowsy we’re talking if you’re like me, try it at night at first.

  11. Benadryl is fine. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure Claritin is as well, as long as you make sure it isn’t Claritin allergy AND SINUS. That would contain pseudoephedrine- not something you want to take while preggo. Steroid nasal sprays are also safe, and quite effective. I took Flonase while pregnant with my daughter. I feel your pain, though… I have severe allergies myself. It sucks. Praying for an early frost for you….

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