Making sense of allergy medications

Women are often cautious about taking medications while they are pregnant or breast-feeding. In addition, there is often a limited amount of information available on medication use by new or expecting mothers. So before considering medication, a pregnant or breast-feeding woman should try to minimize the need for it by taking steps to avoid the offending allergen.

A saline nasal spray can help clear congestion in women who prefer not to use conventional medications.

New or expecting mothers should also take care before using natural health products such as herbal products, supplements and homeopathic preparations. New regulations, called the Natural Health Products Regulations, have been developed to ensure that natural health products are effective, safe, and well made. Products approved under these regulations will have a NPN (Natural Health Product Number) or DIN-HM (Drug Identification Number – Homeopathic Medicine) on the label.

Many natural health products contain active medication ingredients and, therefore, can have side effects and drug interactions, some of which may be serious. So, if you are interested in using a natural health product, check with your pharmacist or doctor to ensure that the product does not contain any ingredients that would put your baby at risk.

It's often best to consult a health professional to clear up any confusion about medication safety. Ask your pharmacist or doctor to ensure that the specific medication you plan to take is safe for you and your baby. Not all allergy medications are recommended for new or expecting mothers.

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