We all love getting out and about in the summer, but there is a downside for many people to the lighter, brighter, warmer days – the dreaded hay fever.

High pollen counts can cause misery at the best of times, but what about when you’re pregnant?

Experts say that hay fever doesn’t tend to get worse in pregnancy, but a general rise in mucus levels can lead to your sinuses feeling more congested, even if you don’t usually suffer from hay fever.

Not suitable

And the unfortunate fact is that a lot of the traditional medical solutions, such as antihistamines, are not suitable for pregnant women, according to Boots Pharmacist Heather Feeney.

“It’s important to note that not all hay fever medications are suitable for use during pregnancy so women should always seek advice from their doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication for hay fever.”

Heather Feeney, Boots Pharmacist, on the RTE Today Show


In the meantime, there are a number of preventative tips that are extremely effective in stopping the pollen from entering your airways in the first place.

Monitor the pollen forecast

“Met Éireann is your friend,” says Heather. “Keep your eye on the Met Éireann website daily so you can monitor the pollen forecast. When it’s moderate/high, try some of the following preventative tips to protect yourself against pollen:

  • When you’re in and out of the garden, wear wraparound sunglasses to help prevent pollen from getting in and irritating your eyes.
  • When coming in from the outdoors, try and make time to have a shower to wash away any stray pollen on your hair and skin, and put all clothes straight in the wash.
  • Avoid hanging your washing outside as the pollen in the air can cling to your clean clothes and linger on the materials.”

While more severe cases should visit their doctor to get a prescription for a pregnancy-friendly remedy, mild to moderate cases of hay fever can also be treated with a natural remedy available from your local pharmacy.

“Try applying Vaseline to the inside of your nose,” recommends Heather. “It works as a barrier and can trap pollen before breathing it in.”

Sinus rinse

Other tried-and-tested natural remedies for hay fever include a sinus rinse, which involves flushing saline solution through the sinuses via the nostrils. Quite simply, this washes out any trapped pollen before they can cause an allergic reaction.

Similarly, a saline spray is a portable version and acts on the same premise. Local honey is a popular way to reduce allergies as it contains pollen, which can build immunity in the body against pollen and other seasonal allergies. However, it’s essential to ensure the honey is pasteurised, as unpasteurised honey could contain bacteria that cause botulism. If in doubt, don’t eat it!

These are just a few of the ways to minimise your discomfort due to seasonal allergies when pregnant; talk to your local pharmacist or doctor for more advice and solutions.

If you do need to get out and about in comfort check out Baby Elegance’s new Drift Travel System.


Heather Feeney MPSI is Pharmacist Development and Deployment Manager at Boots. She is passionate about the advancement and betterment of the pharmacy profession in the ever-evolving world of chronic disease management and is dedicated to supporting this agenda across Boots stores by means of an enhanced service offering, and excellent standards of patient care.