diphenhydramine is an oral antihistamine that can be purchased without a prescription (OTC). Specifically, it falls under the category of first-generation antihistamines. As we’ll explore later on, first-generation antihistamines are generally associated with more pronounced drowsiness compared to second-generation antihistamines, such as loratadine (Claritin).

Allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose and sneezing, occur due to a response to histamine, a chemical produced by our bodies. In cases of allergies, the body mistakenly perceives a substance as harmful and releases high levels of histamine to eliminate what it perceives as a threat.

diphenhydramine works by reducing the body’s exaggerated response to histamine, thereby alleviating these bothersome allergy symptoms.

Is it safe to take diphenhydramine while I’m pregnant?

Indeed, diphenhydramine is generally regarded as safe for use during pregnancy. It has been widely available for a significant period, enabling experts to conduct thorough research on its effects.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that diphenhydramine and other first-generation antihistamines do not pose a risk to unborn babies. It is considered safe for use throughout all three trimesters of pregnancy. Therefore, if you happened to take Benadryl before realizing you were pregnant, there is no cause for concern.

What are the risks of taking diphenhydramine while pregnant?

While diphenhydramine is generally considered safe for unborn babies, it’s important to note that it’s not entirely without risks. Many people experience drowsiness, dizziness, and weakness when taking this medication, which can potentially interfere with daily activities.

These side effects can be especially concerning during pregnancy. Vertigo is common in the first trimester, and as your pregnancy progresses, issues with balance can become more frequent due to changes in your center of gravity caused by your growing belly.

Given these common pregnancy-related changes, there is an increased risk of accidents such as tripping, falling, or other injuries. Diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in diphenhydramine, can exacerbate these issues and contribute to balance problems.

It’s crucial to discuss these potential side effects with your healthcare provider before considering diphenhydramine. They may recommend trying a different allergy medication that carries fewer risks during pregnancy.

What are the risks of taking diphenhydramine while pregnant?

When considering antihistamines during pregnancy, the primary concern often revolves around potential drowsiness. Opting for a less sedating antihistamine may be a more suitable choice. Second-generation antihistamines typically cause less drowsiness compared to diphenhydramine. Among these alternatives, both loratadine and cetirizine (Zyrtec) are deemed safe for use during pregnancy and are available over-the-counter.

Another option for managing allergies while pregnant is nasal steroid sprays. However, not all of these sprays are equally safe. Among the OTC nasal steroid sprays, budesonide (Rhinocort) and fluticasone propionate (Flonase) are considered safe options. It’s important to keep in mind that these medications may take some time to take effect, so they are best used as a preventive measure to ward off allergy symptoms in advance.

Read Also: What Drug Class is Dimetapp?

Pros and Cons of diphenhydramine


  • Antihistamine
  • Sleep Aid
  • Nausea Relief
  • Over-the-counter


  • Sedation
  • Drug Interactions
  • Side Effects
  • Not for Everyone
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Differences Between diphenhydramine and simethicone


It is an antihistamine used primarily to relieve symptoms of allergies, such as itching, sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. It is also used as a sleep aid and to alleviate nausea and motion sickness.


This medication is an anti-foaming agent used to relieve symptoms of gas, bloating, and discomfort caused by excess gas in the digestive tract. It works by breaking down gas bubbles, making them easier to eliminate.

Alternative to diphenhydramine

  1. Antihistamines:

    • Cetirizine (Zyrtec): It is a non-sedating antihistamine that can provide relief from allergy symptoms without causing as much drowsiness as diphenhydramine.
    • Loratadine (Claritin): Another non-sedating antihistamine that is effective for allergies and has a lower risk of causing sedation compared to diphenhydramine.

What are the risks of taking diphenhydramine while pregnant?

What if you prefer to steer clear of medications during pregnancy? That’s perfectly acceptable. Here are some drug-free suggestions to help alleviate allergies:

  1. Steer clear of environments where people smoke.
  2. Experiment with a saline sinus rinse, like a neti pot.
  3. For outdoor allergies:
    • Limit your time outdoors.
    • Wear wrap-around sunglasses outdoors to shield your eyes from pollen.
    • Upon returning indoors, promptly remove footwear and change clothes to reduce pollen exposure.
    • Consider taking a shower and washing your hair before bedtime to ease nighttime symptoms.
  4. For indoor allergies:
    • Make an effort to keep your home clean (don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if needed).
    • Use a damp mop or cloth to clean surfaces.
    • Utilize a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter for carpets and rugs.
    • Opt for a microfiber cloth for dusting instead of a feather duster.
    • Avoid spending extended periods in areas where dust accumulates heavily, such as basements or attics.
  5. If you have pet allergies:
    • Minimize contact with animals by avoiding places with numerous pets.
    • Create a pet-free space in your home where you can seek relief if necessary.

These non-pharmaceutical strategies can be effective in managing allergies during pregnancy without resorting to medication.

What are some reasons why people take diphenhydramine during pregnancy?

diphenhydramine, known by its generic name diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine that helps to moderate the immune system’s response to allergens such as pollen, dust, and pet dander.

Using diphenhydramine can provide relief from various allergy symptoms, asthma, hay fever, and common cold symptoms, including:

  • Itchy eyes, nose, or throat
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Watery eyes
  • Skin itching
  • Skin rash

Additionally, this over-the-counter medication is also utilized to alleviate dizziness, nausea, and vomiting associated with motion sickness or car sickness. Due to its sedative effects, some individuals use diphenhydramine to address sleep disturbances during pregnancy.


When it comes to taking diphenhydramine during pregnancy, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and consult with your healthcare provider. While diphenhydramine is commonly used for allergies, sleep issues, and nausea, its safety during pregnancy is not conclusively established. The potential risks and benefits should be carefully evaluated with your doctor. This ensures that any decision made considers both your health and the well-being of your baby. Always seek professional medical advice before taking any medication during pregnancy.

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional treatment or diagnosis. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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