Heartburn Medicines When Your Are Pregnant
All the medications that you would usually take become questionable when youre pregnant. There are some that thin the blood and others that cause problems for the cell growth and structures of your growing little one.
Now you must think twice about what to take and what to avoid regarding heartburn medicine. It can be tricky, especially when it comes to the symptoms of pregnancy. You have to put up with pain, sickness, and heartburn medicine.
The good news is that many heartburn medicine and medications are safe during pregnancy. Here are 15 that you can definitely take, with some over the counter options and some herbal remedies to soothe and treat your acid reflux.
When To Call The Doctor
If heartburn symptoms are associated withheadaches or swelling of the hands and face, talk with your provider beforetrying these remedies, especially if the symptoms are new and present in thelast trimester of pregnancy.
Heartburn-like paincan be a symptom of preeclampsia, or dangerously high bloodpressure during pregnancy. Preeclampsia puts mothers and babies at risk, andfurther evaluation may be necessary.
As mentioned,heartburn is very common in pregnancy. If your symptoms dont resolve with dietchanges or medication, let your provider know so you can find an effectivetreatment.
Try Out Pepcid For Your Heartburn
One of the branded medications that you can take is Pepcid. This medication is commonly used for treating ulcers in the stomach, and it helps to balance out the amount of acid within the stomach and in the food pipe. It is very commonly recommended to those with GERD, which can flare up during pregnancy.
Since it doesnt cause other effects on your body, it is safe during pregnancy. In fact, doctors recommend it in many heartburn meddicine cases.
There are both liquid and tablet forms. Liquids tend to be the most favored and they may feel like they soothe on the way down. If you want to eliminate the problem completed, consider the above advice of taking a tablet with little water.
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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.
Why Does It Happen In Pregnancy
Many women who have heartburn during pregnancy have never had problems before. Unfortunately, if you had heartburn before becoming pregnant, youre more likely to have symptoms while you are pregnant. Although the exact reasons arent clear, most experts believe that pregnancy hormones, particularly progesterone, play a role. Hormones cause relaxation of the esophageal sphincter. This is a tight circular band of muscle at the top of the stomach. This allows partially digested food and stomach acids to backflow, or reflux, into the esophagus. In addition, progesterone also slows the digestive process. This keeps food in the stomach longer. The pregnancy itselfthe upward pressure of the growing uterusalso may play a role.
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Other Ways To Relieve Heartburn
Heartburn is one of the most common types of pain that pregnant women face and if you have had it in the past, you are more likely to get it when you are pregnant. Its believed that pregnancy hormones, such as progesterone, can relax the muscular valve in the stomach, which usually closes to prevent stomach acids from backflowing into the esophagus.
And as the baby grows, the fetus can create upward pressure, pushing on the abdomen. The food goes north rather than south, said Dr. Joel E. Richter, thedirector of the division of gastroenterology and nutrition at the University of South Florida who has studied the effects of heartburn medications taken during pregnancy.
If you are looking for relief, certain dietary changes such as avoiding spicy, acidic or fatty foods limiting caffeine and eating smaller, more frequent meals can help.
Its also best to remain upright for a couple of hours after eating.
If those changes do not make a difference, Dr. Richter said, the first line of defense during pregnancy is typically to use sucralfate , a prescription ulcer medication that is sometimes used for treating reflux disease or antacids that do not contain aspirin .
If these measures are not enough, doctors typically advise pregnant women to take histamine blockers like ranitidine to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach, or a different class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors, which inhibit the secretion of stomach acid, such as Prilosec .
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.
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When To See A Doctor
You should call your healthcare provider if you:
- Experience heartburn that doesnt go away
- Have heartburn that wakes you up at night
- Have trouble swallowing
- Have black poop
- Are losing weight
If you have chest pain but never had heartburn before, you should see your doctor or seek emergency medical attention right away. It could be a sign of a heart attack.
Talk To Your Doctor About Alginates
Antacids are the most commonly bought heartburn medicine/ medications, but you can get some that also have alginates. These medications help to line the esophagus to eliminate the pain and discomfort that you feel, giving you immediate relief.
At the same time, they create a barrier over the top of your stomach acid. This foamy barrier stops the acid from getting through, preventing the reason for the heartburn in the first place. Its a long-term option.
If you suffer from bad acid reflux during the night, you will want to discuss these as an option during pregnancy with your doctor. They can give the lining throughout the night to help you sleep and then you stick to immediate or other options during the day.
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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.
Get Zantac 75 When Theres No Pepcid
If you run out of Pepcid and you cant get anymore, Zantac 75 is an option. This is another heartburn medication that works on neutralizing the acid in the stomach. It doesnt work on blocking the acid production in the way that the above medication does.
You can get the Zantac 75 without a prescription in both liquid and tablet form. It can be effective for on the spot heartburn relief, but its not the best option. It is one of those for the longer term benefits.
Zantac 75 can also help to relief stomach pains and coughs. It also helps to limit the production of ulcers in the stomach by keeping the acid levels neutral.
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If You’re Taking Prescription Medicines
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.
Is It Safe To Take Tums During Pregnancy
Heartburn is a burning sensation that often extends from the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat. It is caused by hormonal and physical changes in your body. During pregnancy, the placenta produces the hormone progesterone. Progesterone relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus, but it also relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This allows gastric acids to seep back up, which causes the unpleasant burning sensation.
Most people know antacids can provide fast, safe relief for heartburn. The question you have is whether or not it is safe to take TUMS during pregnancy? TUMS provides safe heartburn relief for women who are pregnant. TUMS also adds calcium to your body. When you are pregnant, your body may need between 1,000 mg and 1,300 mg of elemental calcium per day.
Be sure to take TUMS at a different time than you take iron supplements. It is recommended to space doses of these antacids and iron supplements one to two hours apart, to get the full benefit from each medicine or dietary supplement. You should consult with your healthcare provider before taking any antacids containing sodium bicarbonate.
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How Can I Prevent Heartburn During Pregnancy
They say prevention is the best medicine, so knowing common heartburn triggers can help you keep the acid at bay.
Of course, pregnancy itself is a major trigger for heartburn. As your growing uterus puts pressure on your stomach, this pushes stomach acid up your throat.
Those lovely hormones are no help either. They tend to relax the valve between your stomach and esophagus, which makes it easier for acid to make its way upward.
While theres nothing you can do to stop this entirely, there are a few things that can help prevent heartburn from flaring up during pregnancy:
Heartburn Medication To Avoid During Pregnancy
Talk to your doctor before taking any antacids. Some contain ingredients that may harm you or your baby. Be sure to not to take these medications:
Ranitidine. In 2020, the FDA stopped sales of an H2 blocker called ranitidine because it was contaminated with a cancer-causing agent. If you take OTC ranitidine, stop your use. If you have a prescription for ranitidine, talk to your doctor about other options before you stop your medication.
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Does Pregnancy Cause Heartburn
Pregnancy increases your risk of heartburn or acid reflux. During the first trimester, muscles in your esophagus push food more slowly into the stomach and your stomach takes longer to empty.
This gives your body more time to absorb nutrients for the fetus, but it can also result in heartburn.
During the third trimester, the growth of your baby can push your stomach out of its normal position, which can lead to heartburn.
However, each woman is different. Being pregnant doesnt necessarily mean youll have heartburn. It depends on many factors, including your physiology, diet, daily habits, and your pregnancy.
Relieving heartburn during pregnancy typically involves some trial and error. Lifestyle habits that can reduce heartburn are often the safest methods for mother and baby. The following tips may help relieve your heartburn:
Alternative medicine options include acupuncture and relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, or guided imagery. Always check with your doctor before trying new treatments.
Top Medications To Avoid
Before we get into the exact medications to try, lets focus on the ones that you need to avoid. Read the labels to find out if the medications contain:
- Bicarbonate soda/baking soda
These three are effective heartburn medicine for relieving heartburn, but they can put your unborn baby and your health at risk. They think the blood and can make you a higher risk of miscarriage. Bicarbonate soda is high in sodium, which will cause water retention, raise your bodys sodium levels, and cause other health problems.
Reading the labels will also help you look out for not safe for pregnancy, do not use during pregnancy, or suitable for pregnancy labels.
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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 .
Why Acid Reflux Occurs During Pregnancy
In gastroesophageal reflux, or acid reflux, the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t work properly. Early in pregnancy, hormone levels increase. Higher levels of the hormone progesterone can cause the valve to relax. This allows foods and stomach acid to flow backwards from the stomach up the esophagus. This can lead to bouts of heartburn , indigestion and other bothersome symptoms. Hormones can also cause the digestive process to slow down during pregnancy. Later in pregnancy, your growing baby pushes on the stomach. This can also cause stomach contents to come up into the esophagus.
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When Will It End
Heartburn symptoms are usually mild and manageable. Tell your healthcare provider if your heartburn is severe, if you spit up blood, or have dark-colored bowel movements. This is a sign of blood in your digestive tract. Fortunately, heartburn usually ends with the birth of your baby and your body goes back to its nonpregnant state.
Diet Nutrition And Lifestyle
What and how you eat can make all the difference with heartburn during pregnancy.
- Eating smaller meals throughout the day
- Making your main meal at lunchtime, which takes pressure off the digestive tract later in the day when the body is tired or ready for bed
- Avoiding food a couple hours before bed or a nap
- Sitting upright after eatinglying down can push stomach contents back up
- Propping your head up with a couple of pillows while sleeping
- Tight fitting clothes. They put even more pressure on your organs.
- Liquids while you eat. This dilutes your digestive juices, making them less effective.
- Eating the following aggravating acidic foods:
- Caffeinated and sugar beverages, like tea, coffee, soda, etc.
- Spicy, fatty, rich, and fried foods
- Fizzy drinks
- Large quantities of meat in one sittingthe body works harder if overloaded or too rich
Again, adding and subtracting certain foods and behaviors daily will help build a more balanced foundation for your wellness.
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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.
Consider Maalox For Your Immediate Heartburn Relief
If youre still struggling to find something that will help to relieve your heartburn, you could consider Maalox. This is very similar to TUMs and offers immediate relief. Its commonly suggested to patients who have too much stomach acid or are commonly bloated or have issues with belching.
The medication works by breaking up bubbles in the body. It also neutralizes the existing stomach acid. The downside is that it doesnt prevent the problem from occurring again.
This is one of the most debated options when it comes to heartburn relief. There is some aluminum in the medication, which can be harmful to the baby in large amounts. You need to follow the instructions given by your doctor or pharmacist to keep your unborn baby safe.
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