When a woman is pregnant or suspects she is pregnant, she needs to be very conscientious of the type of treatment and medication administered to her. She has to think not only of herself, but also of the baby.
When a woman with allergies becomes pregnant, it can heighten the situation because of the risks associated with treatment. Allergen immunotherapy can be carefully administered to a pregnant woman as long as she is not having adverse reactions to the treatment.
Anaphylaxis carries more risks, especially when used along with increased dosages of immunotherapy. Why? It doesn’t take effect in the body until several months after being administered. Therefore, this is not a recommended using combined therapy during pregnancy. It is best for a woman to be carefully evaluated by a doctor before receiving immunotherapy treatment for allergies.
The most appropriate option would probably be to start with a low dose, so that the likelihood of an allergic effect from the injections is lessened.
Making the Determination
The doctor should be aware of the advantages and risks associated with immunotherapy in pregnant women. Due to concerns of possible systemic reactions to immunotherapy, many doctors won’t initiate it during pregnancy.
In addition, the determination may also depend on how advanced the woman’s pregnancy is. The goal is to consider resultant treatment for both mother and baby so that there is no occurrence of:
- Spontaneous abortion
- Fetal hypoxia
- Premature labor
If a woman gets pregnant while the build-up phase of immunotherapy is occurring and she is not responding therapeutically to the dose, then immunotherapy should be discontinued.
Prospective and Retrospective Studies
No prospective studies have been done to investigate the actual safety of allergen immunotherapy for pregnant women. However, there have been a few retrospective studies suggesting that there really is no great risk to pregnant women taking immunotherapy drugs, nor is there a risk of fetal abnormality or premature birth.
Continuance of Immunotherapy
If a woman was on allergen immunotherapy prior to her pregnancy, maintenance doses should be ongoing. When a patient already receiving immunotherapy lets her doctor know that she is pregnant, the normal course of treatment is not to increase the dosage of immunotherapy any further.
However, it is probably better to continue with allergen immunotherapy than to take decongestants and pseudoephedrine.
In summary, once the pregnant mother shows no adverse reactions to the allergy shots, her shots can continue because they may reduce her allergy or asthma symptoms. Allergen immunotherapy should never be started after a woman becomes pregnant without careful consultation with a doctor.
Speak with an Allergy Specialist Boynton Beach
If you are pregnant and think that immunotherapy may help your allergy symptoms, discuss this with your doctor before making any decisions. Call Joshua P. Light MD at 561-737-8584.