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Heartburn Medicine Safe During Pregnancy

Why Does Heartburn Startduring Pregnancy

Heartburn during pregnancy

Heartburn is very common during pregnancy especially during the third trimester. Heartburn affects 22% of women in the first trimester, 39% in the second and up to 72% in the last. This is because during pregnancy your body produces hormones that can slow down digestion and can cause the muscular valve between the oesophagus and the stomach to relax.

As a result, stomach acid is more likely to leak into the oesophagus and cause a burning pain in the chest and throat. The increasing pressure on your stomach as your baby grows can also force the acid into the oesophagus.

Dont worry, it does not harm the baby, but it can be extremely uncomfortable. Welcome relief can be found with Rennie which can be taken during pregnancy as long as it is taken according to the instructions*.

*Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine in pregnancy.

Opt For A Cold Ice Cream

Another popular medication prescribed is ice cream. This has a similar cooling effect as milk, because of the temperature. Its easy to swallow, and youll be able to get the immediate, temporary relief.

But isnt ice cream full of sugar? Well, yes and no. You could make your own at home from mashed banana, milk, and cream. That will help to keep the calories to a minimum, and youll get more nutrients.

Try to avoid chocolate flavored ice cream. If buying it from the store, plain vanilla or banana are the best options.

Common Uses For Pepcid During Pregnancy

Pepcid is often a go-to OTC drug for those who have heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy.

There are many people who experience acid reflux in pregnancy due to high levels of progesterone and the increasing size of the uterus, says Rachel Gerber, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and board certified OB-GYN at Reproductive Medicine Associates.

Pregnancy hormones slow down the muscles of the digestive tract, which causes food to move more slowly, leaving you with a sluggish digestive system.

You may also experience indigestion and heartburn when hormones relax the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach, causing the food and acids to come back up from the stomach to the esophagus. This process is responsible for the burning feeling that comes with heartburn.

When lifestyle and dietary changes dont help relieve heartburn in pregnancy, Ross says you can take Pepcid AC by mouth once or twice a day with or without food. As always, discuss taking any new medication with your doctor during pregnancy.

Also Check: Is Acid Reflux The Same As Heartburn

Opt For Tums Over Rolaids

You may be tempted to get Rolaids as thats what youre used to. Cut this out during pregnancy.

The best option is to take TUMS. These digest within the stomach to balance out the stomach acid. However, some pregnant women have said that theyre arent as effective as Pepcid during the third trimester.

TUMS is useful when you need on-the-spot treatment, but Pepcid will last longer. There is also the downside of sugar in TUMS, which should normally be managed but especially during pregnancy to avoid gestational diabetes.

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Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar For Heartburn During Pregnancy ...

Mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar with approximately 8 ounces of water sip throughout the day and an hour before meals.

It seems strange to think about drinking vinegar when your chest is burning, but low stomach acid actually creates heartburn. This works because it increases the acids, resulting in relief. Make sure the vinegar is raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. Bonus points for an amber bottle.

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Safe Prescription Allergy Medications

  • Singulair : Usage of montelukast during pregnancy for treatment of asthma does not appear to increase the risk of major birth defects.
  • Allergy shots : Its considered safe to continue your allergy shots during pregnancy. Let your healthcare providers know that youre pregnant and they will carefully monitor your dosage.

What Medications Are Safe To Take During Pregnancy

Over-the-counter antacids such as Tums, Rolaids, and Maalox may help you cope with occasional heartburn symptoms. Those made of calcium carbonate or magnesium are good options.

However, it may be best to avoid magnesium during the last trimester of pregnancy. Magnesium could interfere with contractions during labor.

Most doctors recommend avoiding antacids that contain high levels of sodium. These antacids can lead to a buildup of fluid in the tissues.

You should also avoid any antacids that list aluminum on the label, as in aluminum hydroxide or aluminum carbonate. These antacids can lead to constipation.

Finally, stay away from medications like Alka-Seltzer that may contain aspirin.

Ask your doctor for the best option. If you find yourself downing bottles of antacids, your heartburn may have progressed to gastroesophageal acid reflux disease . In that case, you may need a stronger treatment.

Recommended Reading: What Makes You Get Heartburn

Ask Your Doctor About Prevacid

Prevacid is one of the recommended longer term options for heartburn/ heartburn medicine. It blocks the production of acid, but it doesnt offer the immediate relief. This is often recommended for those who suffer heartburn regularly, such as more than two days a week.

It is a category B heartburn medicine / medication, which means there are no known risks to a baby. Your doctor may not recommend it if you have liver disease or are deficient in magnesium. You will be recommended some of the above options.

Slippery Elm Bark And Marshmallow Root

Are there treatment options for acid reflux during pregnancy?

Some mamas find relief from mucilaginous herbs like slippery elm bark and marshmallow root. Due to their gummy consistency, they coat the intestines and soothe digestion. Be sure to use under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner and away from food and supplementsthey can interfere with nutrient absorption.

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Read Also: 9 Medications That Can Cause Heartburn

What Should I Take For Nausea During Pregnancy


Zofran is a commonly prescribed medication used to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. Zofrans FDA-approved use is for nausea caused by chemotherapy and surgery, and its use for nausea caused by pregnancy is considered off-label. Some studies suggest there is a small increase in chance for cleft palate and heart defects when Zofran is used in the first trimester.

Diclegis and Bonjesta

Both Diclegis and Bonjesta are FDA-approved for treatment of nausea during pregnancy. Their active ingredients are doxylamine and vitamin B6. Neither is approved for use with hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, which often requires hospitalization. Given that the active ingredients in these medications have been used for nausea in pregnant women for the past 60 years, it makes sense to combine their powers for improved relief. Remember that lifestyle changes are the best way to tackle nausea, but if medication is needed, one of these two is the way to go.

Why Treat Heartburn And Acid Reflux During Pregnancy

Heartburn and acid reflux are traditionally considered innocuous because they are common in pregnancy and are usually self-limiting. However, a recent study suggests that GERD is associated with an increase in the severity of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy , which can have serious negative effects on a womans quality of life. In a prospective cohort study conducted by the Motherisk Program, 194 pregnant women with NVP and heartburn or acid reflux were compared with 188 pregnant women with NVP who did not have heartburn or acid reflux. The 2 groups were assessed for severity of NVP with the pregnancy-unique quantification of emesis and nausea score, which is a validated scoring tool based on frequency and duration of nausea, vomiting, and retching in the past 24 hours, with a high score indicating more severe NVP. Quality of life was measured by the well-being score, with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best. Forty-eight percent of women in the control group had severe NVP according to the PUQE, compared with 75% in the group with heartburn and acid reflux. The mean well-being score in the control group was significantly higher than that in the group with heartburn and acid reflux .

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Treatment Of Heartburn During Pregnancy

If your heartburn wonât go away, see your doctor. They may prescribe or recommend OTC medications that are safe to take during pregnancy. Heartburn usually disappears following childbirth.

Medications may include:

Over-the-counter antacids such as calcium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide. These are generally safe to use during pregnancy. You may find that liquid heartburn relievers are more effective in treating heartburn, because they coat the esophagus.

H2 blockers. These medications block chemical signals that produce stomach acid. They include cimetidine and famotidine , and theyâre available in over the counter and prescription strengths.

Proton pump inhibitors . Like H2 blockers, these drugs help cut down on stomach acid. PPIs, which include lansoprazole and omeprazole , are available over the counter and by prescription.

If you take iron supplements, talk to your doctor before you take a PPI or H2 blocker. These medications can make the supplements less effective.

If You’re Taking Prescription Medicines

Safe Heartburn Medicine While Pregnant

Speak to your GP if you’re taking medicine for another condition, such as antidepressants, and you think it may be making your indigestion worse. They may be able to prescribe an alternative medicine.

Never stop taking a prescribed medicine unless you’re advised to do so by your GP or another qualified healthcare professional who’s responsible for your care.

Recommended Reading: What Does It Mean When You Have Constant Heartburn

Prevention Of Heartburn During Pregnancy

Some tips that may help you cut down on heartburn during your pregnancy include:

  • Eat several small meals each day instead of three large ones.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Avoid fried, spicy, or rich foods or any foods that seem to cause relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and increase the risk of heartburn.
  • Donât smoke tobacco or drink alcohol, which can make heartburn symptoms worse.
  • Drink less while eating. Drinking large amounts while eating may increase the risk of acid reflux and heartburn.
  • Don’t lie down directly after eating.
  • Keep the head of your bed higher than the foot of your bed. Or place pillows under your shoulders to help prevent stomach acids from rising into your esophagus.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing. Tight-fitting clothes can increase the pressure on your stomach and abdomen.
  • Try to avoid constipation.

How Can I Manage Symptoms Of Heartburn

You can carry out a few lifestyle changes as a pregnant woman that may help considerably with your symptoms:

Eat small regular meals. This avoids filling up your already squashed stomach. Take measured bites and drink slowly

Refrain from eating up to three hours before bedtime

Use two pillows to keep your head and shoulders above your chest when lying down to avoid acid going up the oesophagus

Avoid bending or stooping positions

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What Are The Risks Of Pepcid During Pregnancy

There are no risks to the mother or fetus, says G. Thomas Ruiz, MD, OB-GYN lead at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center. Even though Pepcid does cross the placenta, Ruiz says there have been no known ill-effects in babies.

Because of the physiologic changes in pregnancy, Ruiz says there may be increased renal clearance of Pepcid. In plain language, this means you may need to take a higher dose. But check with your doctor.

While its best to avoid unnecessary medications during pregnancy unless specifically recommended by your doctor, Gerber says the available data is reassuring that Pepcid doesnt lead to increase risk in pregnant versus nonpregnant people.

However, before you take Pepcid, Ross says to consult with your doctor if you have a history of kidney or liver disease, asthma, COPD, or breathing problems.

Some of the more common side effects of Pepcid include:

  • constipation

Dietary and lifestyle changes can help reduce heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux during pregnancy. Whenever possible, Gerber recommends trying these interventions before starting a medication.

Remedies that may help reduce heartburn, indigestion, or acid reflux include the following:

When it comes to OTC medications to try before using Pepcid, Ross says products such as Tums or Maalox help coat the esophagus, which minimizes the burning sensation. Both are safe in pregnancy.

For optimal results, Ross recommends taking these medications 30 minutes before each meal and before bedtime.

#dont Eat Right Before You Go To Bed

Natural Heartburn Prevention During Pregnancy

Before sleeping, make sure that you ambulate for about an hour or two to ensure your stomach has already emptied. A lying position makes it easier for stomach contents to flush backward, so make sure you elevate your head using pillows and ensure your head is higher than your entire trunk and feet.

This positions your body in such a way that gastric content will not backwash to the esophagus. Preventing content from backwashing will be extremely beneficial in avoiding heartburn during pregnancy, so keep those feet elevated!

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What Treatments Are Available For Heartburn In Pregnancy

The treatment of any condition occurring during pregnancy is complicated by the need to avoid treatments that may be harmful to the foetus. The treatment of heartburn is no exception.

Lifestyle modifications and dietary changes recommended prior to medical treatments.

Lifestyle modifications

Several strategies can be used to help reduce heartburn symptoms including:

  • Eating smaller meals more frequently by not overfilling the stomach there is less pressure on the sphincter which normally acts to prevent the flow of stomach contents back up the oesophagus
  • Avoiding eating late at night most women experience their symptoms more frequently at night, so by avoiding meals late at night you can increase the time between eating and lying down, which may improve your symptoms
  • Avoiding foods that trigger symptoms if certain foods like spicy or oily foods seem to trigger your symptoms it may be best to avoid these foods
  • Elevating the head of the bed this puts gravity on your side to make it harder for stomach contents to enter the oesophagus and
  • Chewing gum can be beneficial as it stimulates the salivary glands and helps to neutralise the stomach acids.

Alcohol and tobacco should be avoided not only to reduce reflux symptoms but also to avoid exposing the foetus to these harmful substances.

For more information on the effects of tobacco smoke exposure on pregnancy, see Smoking and Passive Smoking During Pregnancy.


Histamine2-receptor antagonists

#avoid Tobacco And Alcohol

Avoid using tobacco and alcohol while pregnant, as well as during breastfeeding. Alcohol can cross the placental barrier and can also affect the child. Remember that what you eat will also be taken in by your child passively.

Apart from the pregnancy-related dangers of alcohol and smoking, this may also lead to health hazards in the long run. Heartburn during pregnancy is not to be taken lightly. Even if you are not pregnant, smoking cigarettes has been proven to cause it more in smokers than in non-smokers, so if you needed one more reason to quit, then there you go.

Also Check: What Causes Heartburn After Every Meal

Which Medicines Can I Take

If lifestyle changes don’t provide you with relief, you may want to consider taking a medicine to help with your heartburn. It’s always important to check with your pharmacist or GP before taking any medicines during pregnancy.

Some types of antacids can be taken in pregnancy. These help neutralise excess acid, relieving symptoms. You can find antacids as chewable tablets or in liquid form. Check with your pharmacist which antacids are most suitable to be used in pregnancy.

If you’re still getting symptoms, or you’re vomiting frequently because of heartburn, it’s best to speak with your midwife or GP who will be able to offer you further advice.

Natural Ways To Relieve Pregnancy Heartburn

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There isnt much that can be done about preventing the organic causes of heartburn during pregnancyhormones and babys growth are natural and wanted aspects of pregnancy. So what can you do?

First, its important to avoid over-the-counter options, like Zantac. Although some practitioners will tell you these conventional medications are safe during pregnancy, new research suggests they arent safe during pregnancy or ever. In fact, many big name storesCVS, Walmart, and Walgreens, to name a fewrecently pulled these drugs from their shelves over concerns that they contain cancer-causing agents.

The good news is most women with healthy, normal pregnancies will find easy, convenient, and effective measures to relieve heartburn discomfort naturally, including:

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Why Is Heartburn Common In Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, you’re more likely to have indigestion because of:

Pressure on your stomach caused by the baby

The changing hormonal levels in your body

Stomach acid rising up due to the muscles between your stomach and throat relaxing

The growing uterus also moves up from the pelvis to push on the stomach in the upper abdomen. This leaves little space for the stomach to sit comfortably and can also force stomach acid to move into the oesophagus. This is experienced as heartburn.

Antacids You Shouldnt Take

You should always read the labels and ask your doctor before using OTC medicines, herbs, or home remedies while youre pregnant. Even though it may seem like something should be safe, it isnt always. Some conventional treatments for heartburn that you shouldnt use during pregnancy are:

  • Alka-Seltzer

Its called heartburn, although that burning feeling in your chest has nothing to do with the heart. Uncomfortable and frustrating, it bothers many women, particularly during pregnancy.

The first question you may have is how to make it stop. You may also wonder if treatments are safe for your baby. Learn what causes heartburn during pregnancy and what you can do about it.

Recommended Reading: How To Stop Heartburn Quickly


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