Antihistamines are not recommended during pregnancy (read more about why not) – which sucks when you’re pregnant and you’ve got hayfever.
We know an itchy or runny nose, endless sneezes or watery eyes can be SO irritating while you’re bumpin’ along in the spring and summer.
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you should suffer, right? So, we’ve rounded up some of the natural, non-drug based hayfever remedies and tricks you can try – all of which are 100% safe during pregnancy.
Natural hayfever remedies for pregnant women to try…
1. Wash away the pollen
Take a shower before you go to bed to help wash any stray pollen from your hair and skin.
Keep your bed sheets and clothes freshly washed, and dry any washing inside to help prevent pollen sticking to the fabric.
2. Use pollen barrier balm
Apply a little smear of Vaseline (or any petroleum jelly) or a nasal barrier balm under your nose. It can help to trap some of the pollen when you’re out and about. Woo!
3. Choose hayfever-friendly sunglasses
Any sunnies will help protect bleary eyes some, but wearing wraparound sunglasses can help prevent pollen entering your eyes, too.
4. Keep windows closed
Keep your windows closed in the morning and evening when pollen counts are the highest – even though it’s going to raise the temperature.
If things get a bit stuffy in your home, you could always consider purchasing a small dehumidifier to keep things cool.
5. Avoid grassy areas
Sounds obvious, but the best thing to do if you’re really suffering might be to avoid big parks, fields and grassy areas.
Where else can you meet with friends, or hang out during summer? Concrete areas might be best, unfortunately…
6. Reflexology for hayfever
Reflexology is a type of massage or alternative medicine, which focuses on pressure points on the feet and hands, to heal the rest of the body.
Whether or not it works is up for debate, but we know some people like to give everything a go – especially if they’re really suffering without their antihistamines.
However, you’ll need to pay for a few treatments to see the benefits, says Association of Reflexologist’s Research Manager Tracey Smith:
“Hayfever is an over-activity of the immune system prompted by certain and often highly specific pollen species. Having one reflexology treatment in the midst of a pollen storm will probably not solve the issue.
“But having regular treatments over a period of time prior to the specific pollen season may allow the body to turn down the overreacting immune system and help to reduce the effects.
“Generally those clients simply find that their response to the pollen lessens and so the symptoms are reduced. This is what we have anecdotally found amongst our clients.
“But there is no research to back this up, it simply has not been investigated at a scientific level.”
When treating hayfever or seasonal allergies, Luck Yard’s reflexology clinic says the key points of focus would be:
- nose, sinuses, eyes and lungs
- the adrenals for anti-allergy properties
- the spleen for allergies
- the solar plexus for relaxation.
At the very least, reflexology is often thought to be a very relaxing procedure. It’s safe in pregnancy, though not OK if you have a history of miscarriage or pre-eclampsia.
Though Tracey adds: “Reflexology applied by a well-trained and insured reflexologist is safe in pregnancy, however, some practitioners may prefer only to treat after the first trimester has passed.”
(Make sure you chat to your GP or midwife before trying reflexology, when you’re expecting, too!)
7. Acupuncture for hayfever
Like reflexology, acupuncture is an alternative medicine practice. Unlike reflexology, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese treatment that involves staying very still and the use of very fine needles to relieve pain and uncomfortable symptoms.
Again, whether or not it works is up for debate, but it might be worth a try.
The British Acupuncture Council says that despite a lack of scientific research on the subject, their experience is that acupuncture can help seasonal allergies – especially if you have the treatment before your symptoms begin.
It also reckons that you can see a reduction in symptoms if you go for acupuncture while your hayfever’s in full swing.
They’re probs a bit biased, so we reckon it’s best to use your own judgement, and make sure you meet with a registered, qualified acupuncture professional before getting treatment to discuss your needs and your own set of circumstances.
Also, when pregnant, always run stuff like this by your midwife or your GP, too – just to be on the safe side.
8. Eat onions, garlic and hot peppers
Natural decongestants – foods like garlic, onion and hot peppers – can open up your blocked nose. You know how chopping an onion brings tears to your eyes? It gets everything moving, which can bring a little relief…
Eating garlic’s also thought to give your immune system a boost (your immune system is what causes allergies in the first place) and onions contain quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
We’d suggest getting these kinds of foods in your diet before your symptoms begin, and seeing if it makes any impact.
10. Nasal irrigation
If you’re experiencing a blocked nose or general sinus discomfort, using a nasal irrigation tool (easily purchasable at places like Boots or your local pharmacy) can provide some relief.
You basically use a little pump to wash your nasal passages out with warm saline (salt water).
11. Get your Vitamin C from oranges, lemons and grapefruits
Vitamin C is brilliant for your immune system, so eating fruit like oranges and grapefruits can’t do any harm.
Lemons are especially useful for hayfever sufferers, thanks to something called ‘bioflavonoids’ – which are used to help treat allergies.
Drinking hot water with lemon can also be very soothing, and the steam can be good for easing a blocked nose.
12. Dust, dust, dust away
It might sound silly, because you’re allergic to pollen not dust, but it’s a good idea to keep your home dust-free when you’ve got bad hayfever symptoms.
Allergic rhinitis (the official name for hayfever) can also be caused by dust, so avoiding other possible irritants might help keep your symptoms to a minimum.
13. Drink lots of water
This one sounds obvious, too, but staying hydrated is the first step to keeping yourself healthy.
14. Enjoy afternoon walks after rain showers
Take advantage of wet weather and head outside after it’s been raining. Often, a big bout of rain can ‘wash away’ the pollen.
That said, some hayfever sufferers might find their symptoms are worse after a humid rainstorm. If it’s been really heavy or humid, it may take a little while before the pollen levels have calmed down.
15. Drink a little bit of chamomile or nettle tea
The NHS recommends that you drink no more than 4 herbal teas a day, and to keep an eye on the guidance around which herbs are considered ‘safe’ for pregnant women.
We’d say be even more cautious, and stick to a couple of small cups a day, as so little is known about how herbal teas affect pregnancy.
That said: chamomile and nettle tea are both OK to drink in moderation, and are also purportedly helpful for hayfever sufferers.
A preliminary study by the University of Maryland Medical Centre showed that stinging nettles are good for beating bad hayfever symptoms, and chamomile tea has a number of health benefits, including giving your immune system a boost.
Images: Getty Images