Can You Take Benadryl While Pregnant?

Photo: getty
Can You Take Benadryl While Pregnant?

Watching what you take while pregnant is a full-time job. There are many things that are labeled unsafe, and more often than not, doctors will vary on their opinion of a certain drug. Three pregnant women could get very different advice from their OB/GYNS about the same drug.

Can you take Benadryl while pregnant? Benadryl is a common medication used for many things like allergies, allergic reactions, runny noses, nausea and more. With its common usage, I decided to speak to a few different medical professionals to find out if they felt taking Benadryl is safe during pregnancy.


RELATED: The Truth Behind The Top 10 Pregnancy Myths


Some of my own personal research uncovered that, generally, medical professionals consider Benadryl safe. Although, taking nothing other than prenatal vitamins is considered the safest course of action when you’re pregnant, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy when the baby is first developing. It’s always a “weigh the risks” situation.

For myself, I was extremely nauseous and vomiting during my pregnancy with my daughter, so for my own health and safety, taking medication became crucial for my own health. Without anti-nausea medications, I was developing signs of water on the brain from severe dehydration.

If you suffer from allergies or have severe nausea or an allergic reaction, taking Benadryl may be your best course of action rather than taking nothing. This, of course, is best decided with your own doctor after looking at your medical history and any other medications you may be taking.

In general, the FDA categorizes drugs and their relative safety during pregnancy according to the following categories: Category A, B, C, D and X, with each category increasing its risk towards the developing fetus.

  • Category A: The FDA says that “adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).”
  • Category B: The FDA says, “animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus, and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.” This is actually the category that Benadryl falls into.
  • Category C: The FDA says, “animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus, and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks.”
  • Category D: The FDA says, “there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks.”
  • Category X: The FDA says, “studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use of the drug in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.”

RELATED: 5 Foods To Eat When You're Pregnant That Increase Your Baby's IQ


Knowing that Benadryl is a Category B drug, I felt pretty sure most professionals would say it’s “relatively” safe to use. So, can you take Benadryl while pregnant? Read on to see what these professionals had to say. 

1. It's safe and effective.

Yvonne Bohn, MD, an OB/GYN at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, says, "Benadryl is safe for women to take during pregnancy. It can be used for allergies, itching, insomnia and nausea. Multiple studies have proven its safety and do not identify it as causing birth defects. In fact, it appears to have a protective effect against causing birth defects."

Dr. Pari Ghodsi, a medical adviser at Fresh n' Lean, agrees. Ghodsi says that Benadryl or diphenhydramine is a category B pregnancy class drug, which means it is safe to take in pregnancy. However, there are side effects, including sleepiness, dry mouth, constipation, and light-headedness.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

2. But there is an alternative.

If you aren't convinced that taking this drug is safe enough for you or your unborn child, Dr. Kim Langdon, a clinical adviser at Medzin has some advice.

"Instead of using Benadryl, you can use 'Loratadine', which has more research to say it is safe during pregnancy. Your doctor can prescribe Benadryl depending on the duration of your pregnancy if you are allergic to other forms of antihistamines."


RELATED: How To Deal With Depression During Pregnancy, Without Drugs Or Harsh Treatments


Laura Lifshitz will work for chocolate. The former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate is currently writing about divorce, sex, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, marriage and more for YourTango, New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, and more. Her own website is frommtvtomommy.com.