Can You Take Benadryl While Pregnant?

Taking Benadryl During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Pregnant women need to be extra careful when taking medications because anything they take can be passed to the baby. There are several medications, however, that are generally considered safe to take during pregnancy. The antihistamine Benadryl is one medication on the safe list.

Benadryl’s Pregnancy Risk Category

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Benadryl, also known as diphenhydramine, is considered a Class B category drug. Medications are labeled as Category B by the FDA when no adverse effects are found on the fetus when studied on pregnant animals. However, while studies of Category B drugs have been conducted on pregnant animals, there haven’t been any well-controlled studies conducted in actual pregnant women. This is why a medication is put into Category B instead of labeled a Category A medication.

Category A medications have actually been tested on pregnant women during their first trimester in well-controlled studies. The results of the studies show that these medications have not posed any risk to the fetus. No risk occurred in the later trimesters as well.

Instructions for Taking Benadryl

Adults can take one to two 25-mg tablets of Benadryl every four to six hours. However, pregnant women should check in with their doctors regarding this dosage. Some doctors may be okay with you taking up to 50 mg every four to six hours. Others may want you to take as little medication as possible, even those listed as Category B drugs. Your OB is your partner in health during your pregnancy. Definitely check in before taking Benadryl first.

Benadryl Plus Congestion

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While taking regular Benadryl is generally considered safe during pregnancy, Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion isn’t.

Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion contains phenylephrine, which is not considered safe for pregnant women, especially in the first trimester, because of its association with birth defects.

Phenylephrine is a decongestant that works by narrowing blood vessels in your nasal passages. Unfortunately, when taken orally, it also impacts the blood vessels in your uterus, which can decrease blood flow. This prevents your baby from getting enough oxygen. Pregnant women definitely want to steer clear of anything containing phenylephrine.

When Not to Take Benadryl

There are some instances when you should not take Benadryl, whether you are pregnant or not. People who are allergic to diphenhydramine should avoid Benadryl entirely. This medication is also known for causing dizziness and drowsiness. So, if you are about to go for a drive or operate heavy machinery, taking Benadryl is not recommended.

Allergy Relief and Beyond

While Benadryl is an antihistamine and indicated to treat allergies, it can also help with other ailments. Some obstetricians actually suggest their pregnant patients take Benadryl when they are extremely anxious or having trouble sleeping.

Always Check With Your Doctor First

Even though Benadryl is typically safe to take during pregnancy, it’s important to always check in with your doctor before taking it or any other medications when you’re pregnant.