Allergies occur when the body has a hypersensitive reaction to a substance that is actually harmless. The reason for this is a malfunction of the body's own defense system against disease - the immune system. It can cause you to sneeze or have a runny or stuffy nose. Allergies also often cause skin rashes and itching, red or watery eyes. However, even more severe reactions can occur, such as allergic shock or allergic asthma. There are many different types of allergies. Common triggers include pet dander, dust, mold, preservatives, medications, cosmetics, metals, or food. Hay fever is an allergy to pollen from plants. Allergic reactions can vary in severity. Some allergies exist from birth, others develop later in life. Infants who are breastfed for a longer time seem to develop allergies less often than babies who are weaned early.

Allergies can improve or worsen during pregnancy. It's best to avoid any substances you're allergic to. This is often possible with animal hair, house dust and cigarette smoke. With hay fever, on the other hand, it is difficult to avoid the pollen that triggers the allergy. Sometimes it helps to rinse your nose with a saline solution. Often, however, this is not enough. That is why many allergy sufferers take medications that slow down the immune system when needed, making the allergy becomes tolerable. These medications are called antihistamines. They are available as tablets, nasal sprays, ointments and as inhalers. Before you take any of these medicines, you should talk to your doctor. This also applies to over-the-counter medicines and to remedies you have tolerated well before. Some antihistamines can harm the pregnancy, while others are safe.

People who suffer from mild or moderate asthma often find that their symptoms improve during pregnancy. However, if the asthma is severe, the problems may increase. If you are affected, you should be examined and advised by a lung specialist at an early stage. It is important to check if the medication you are taking for your asthma is suitable for pregnant people. Some drugs can harm the pregnancy. You should also be well trained in managing your condition so that you know what to do if you experience more severe shortness of breath. You should also always have emergency medication with you so you are able to act quickly if necessary.

There are many different ways to find out if you have an allergy. However, some of these tests are not suitable for pregnant people. For example, experts advise against allergy tests in which your skin is first scratched and then different substances are applied to it. Such tests can lead to allergic shock in individual cases. Instead, your doctor can take a blood sample and test it to see if it contains antibodies that trigger an immune overreaction. However, this method is usually not very accurate and therefore not very meaningful. Hay fever can also be diagnosed with a provocation test. To do this, you have to inhale different substances one after the other. Then your nose’s reaction is measured. This test is also not suitable during pregnancy.

If you have already started a desensitisation treatment against your allergy before pregnancy, you can continue it during pregnancy. This is a therapy in which you are exposed to the substances that trigger an allergic reaction over a longer period of time under medical supervision. This usually happens in the form of drops or tablets. However, in this case you should tell your doctor that you are pregnant. Indeed, it is important not to further increase the dose of the substance during pregnancy. If you have not started therapy already, it is better to start after pregnancy. This therapy is usually paid for in full by health insurance. However, it's a good idea to check with your health insurance company beforehand. Even if you have some form of allergic asthma, you should seek advice from your doctor before you become pregnant.