Can I Take Benadryl While Breastfeeding?

(August 13, 2010)

During pregnancy and the subsequent months of breastfeeding, there are many precautions that one must take. Drug safety is one important area that requires attention. The foods and drugs that are consumed by the mother eventually reach her baby, either in the uterus or through the mother’s milk. A new born baby is extremely delicate, and certain harsh chemicals can have lasting negative effects. A newborn child is also extremely susceptible to the negative effects of drugs and other substances. As a mother, it is therefore important that you know what is and is not safe for your baby, and follow these rules strictly during your pregnancy and throughout the breastfeeding period.

Medication for nasal congestion and antihistamine drugs containing diphenhydramine hydrochloride may have unwanted side effects. Diphenhydramine hydrochloride is primarily used to treat allergic reactions, and it is highly effective in this role. It is also sometimes used to induce sleep and to reduce nausea. In some cases it is used as a mild tranquilizer to treat anxiety disorders. The most common use however is in treating allergic reactions – in fact it is often used in injection form to treat anaphylaxis, a life threatening allergic reaction.

Diphenhydramine hydrochloride has many known side effects. As mentioned earlier, it has sedative effects, and when used to treat allergies, it is known to cause drowsiness. It may also cause dryness in the throat and mouth, blurry vision, and excessive sensitivity to light. Constipation and fluid retention are also known to occur. In some cases, there may be irregular breathing, increased heart rate, confusion, and dizziness. As you can see, diphenhydramine hydrochloride has numerous side effects, and it is therefore avoidable conditions during pregnancy. The effects on a breastfeeding a baby are either mild or non-existent. However, at a time when you are breastfeeding, you certainly do not want to deal with any of the side effects just mentioned. In some cases, it has been known to decrease milk production. It also seems to make babies more irritable and drowsy.

However, that said, there are cases when it may be necessary to take such medication– for example, if you are suffering from anaphylaxis. In this case, the relative risks are negligible, and the benefits far outweigh the minor inconveniences that could be caused. Make sure that you discuss any and all medications that you require to take with your doctor as this will help to minimize any risk to your baby.

Submitted by P T on August 13, 2010 at 12:16

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