Can You Have Allergy Shots During Pregnancy?

Allergy shots, or subcutaneous immunotherapy, have been given for over a century for the treatment of allergic rhinitisallergic conjunctivitisallergic asthma, and atopic dermatitis. Allergy shots are also used for venom allergy, but they are not used for treating food allergies.

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Allergy shots involve the administration of an allergen (such as pollens, pet dander, molds, and dust mites). It would seem like this would worsen allergy symptoms, but when allergens are injected in low doses, the immune system sometimes responds to the allergens similarly to how it responds to a vaccine.

Immunotherapy starts with small doses of an allergen that aren‘y enough cause an allergic reaction, then gradually increasing doses until larger amounts of the allergen can be tolerated.

Injections are initially given one to three times a week until a maintenance dose is reached. It may take 3 to 6 months to reach the maintenance dose.

Once reached, the maintenance dose will usually promote the resolution of most of a person’s allergy symptoms. At this point, allergen injections are given every two to four weeks for 3 to 5 years.

After receiving at least 3 years of immunotherapy, most patients continue to benefit for another 5 to 10 years or longer, even after the shots are stopped. If the shots are stopped prior to a total of 3 years, the allergic symptoms typically return more quickly.

Allergy Shots During Pregnancy

Allergic rhinitis and asthma can be significant problems during pregnancy, and allergy shots may be helpful in treating these issues.

Women who have already been receiving allergy shots before becoming pregnant may continue to benefit from these therapies.

Many women wonder if allergy shots are safe to be given during pregnancy.

Safety Considerations

Allergy shots can be continued during pregnancy, but starting this treatment during pregnancy is not recommended.

If you are taking allergy shots and think you might become pregnant or are already pregnant, it is important that you discuss the risks and benefits of continuing your allergy shots during pregnancy with your allergist and your obstetrician.

Find out more about the basics of allergy shots.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Library of Medicine. Allergy shots.

  2. Pitsios C, Demoly P, Bilò MB, et al. Clinical contraindications to allergen immunotherapy: an EAACI position paper. Allergy. 2015;70(8):897-909. doi:10.1111/all.12638

  3. Dykewicz MS, Wallace DV, Amrol DJ, et al. Rhinitis 2020: a practice parameter update. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020;146(4):721-767. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2020.07.007

By Daniel More, MD
Daniel More, MD, is a board-certified allergist and clinical immunologist. He is an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and currently practices at Central Coast Allergy and Asthma in Salinas, California.