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Antacids During Pregnancy: Are They Safe?

by Aiswarya Shibu

Updated on :  
Antacids During Pregnancy: Are They Safe?

Heartburn is a fairly common complaint during pregnancy. However, it is still very unpleasant to go through. It can not only completely derail your day, but also cause you a lot of discomfort and soreness.

There is no need to suffer from these symptoms when you are already experiencing all the difficulties that come with pregnancy!

Antacids are often the go-to remedy for heartburn, but is it safe to take antacids during pregnancy? What types of antacids are safe, and what types are not? What are the risks? After all, antacids are a type of medicine, and most medicines are known to have at least some side effects.

The following article will shed some light on these topics and give you a better idea of what to do if you get heartburn.

What Are Antacids?

Before we understand what antacids are, we first need to know what heartburn is. 

Digestion in the stomach takes place due to the presence of acids. These acids are produced by the stomach to break down the food into substances that can then be easily absorbed by the intestines.

However, sometimes, there is an imbalance in the amount of stomach acid produced. This is what leads to problems like acidity and heartburn1.

Many women experience lots of heartburn during pregnancy, either due to hormone changes or because of the pressure the growing baby exerts on the surrounding organs, including the stomach. It can also lead to indigestion during early pregnancy.

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Antacids are substances that help to balance the acids in your stomach. It helps your stomach generate the right amount of acid. Thus, antacids provide relief from heartburn and aid in digestion. They can even help with ulcers and excess gas.

Related Reading: 15 Foods To Avoid In First Month Of Pregnancy

Having antacids during pregnancy has been known to be effective at treating heartburn for most women. But how safe is it?

How Safe Is It To Take Antacids During Pregnancy?

How Safe Is It To Take Antacids During Pregnancy

This can be a complicated question to answer. The truth is, some antacids are perfectly safe to have during pregnancy.

However, some are the opposite, and some are recommended only for early pregnancy.

The following is usually what is found in safe antacids2:

  • Antacids that contain aluminum salts.
  • Antacids come in syrup form rather than tablets, as they work quicker.
  • Antacids that contain magnesium oxide or magnesium hydroxide.
  • Antacids that contain calcium carbonate.

Should your heartburn become more severe, you may be prescribed stronger acid blockers such as PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors).

Either way, make sure to consult a medical practitioner to ensure that the antacid you are taking is right for you. There is nothing wrong with using antacids for pregnancy heartburn relief, as long as you choose the right one, inform your doctor, and stick to the right dosage. 

Which Antacids Are Safe During Pregnancy?

There are numerous options if you are looking for safe antacids during pregnancy. One of the most well-known remedies for heartburn is Tums.

Tums is an over-the-counter drug. It is calcium carbonate and is known for being effective at treating symptoms of heartburn and acidity. It is a completely safe antacid during pregnancy and has even been prescribed by doctors for pregnant women for years.

And due to its ingredients, it not only helps deal with heartburn but also provides an extra source of calcium for both the mother and the baby3.

Another well-known antacid that is safe during pregnancy is Rolaids. It is calcium and magnesium-based.

If neither of those brings relief, Mylanta, Pepcid, Prevacid, Tagamet, and Prevacid are all antacids that are also recommended. Just make sure to double-check with your doctor before you begin taking them4.

The above are the most common, well-known approved antacids during pregnancy.

Also, as mentioned above, in severe cases, you may be prescribed PPIs. Omeprazole is a PPI that is completely safe to use during pregnancy.

Related Reading: Does Spicy Food Cause Miscarriage – Myths And Facts

Antacids To Avoid During Pregnancy

Just as many antacids are safe to consume during pregnancy, there are just as many that you should avoid. When taking antacids during pregnancy, you have to pay special attention to the ingredients. Below are a few types of antacids that you should avoid when pregnant.

  • Pepto Bismol antacid, as it contains bismuth salicylate5.
  • Although magnesium-based antacids are generally safe, you should avoid them in the third trimester, as they can affect contractions.
  • Antacids that are based on or contain high amounts of sodium are considered unsafe during pregnancy, as they can cause fluid to build up in your tissues. An example of such an antacid is ENO Fruit Salt.
  • You should also avoid antacids that contain aspirin, such as Alka-Seltzer. 

The above are a few red flags you can look out for when looking for antacids. It is better to be safe than sorry, which is why you should avoid the above types of antacids completely.

And even when you do find a good alternative, make sure the final decision is made only after consulting your doctor.

Precautions And Risks Of Taking Antacids During Pregnancy

Precautions And Risks Of Taking Antacids During Pregnancy

You must keep in mind that no matter how safe a particular medicine is, there is always the chance of side effects. It is important to be prepared for these risks and take the necessary precautions.

Antacids are no different, and the risks are increased when you are pregnant. Here are a few possible side effects and risks of taking antacids during pregnancy.

Reduced Iron Absorption

Many antacids contain a significant amount of calcium, which affects how iron is absorbed. Additionally, antacids also interfere with the production of gastric acids that aid in iron absorption.

For these reasons, consuming antacids may lead to reduced absorption of iron, which can cause a lot of inconvenience during pregnancy.

This is why you must make sure to only take any iron supplements you may be taking a couple of hours after you take the antacid. You don’t want to develop an iron deficiency when pregnant!

Related Reading: Lemon During Pregnancy- Benefits, Safety Concerns, And More

Digestive issues

Digestive problems are probably nothing new to you as a pregnant woman. It is one of the most common types of issues faced by women during this time.

Unfortunately, since antacids mainly affect the stomach, there is a chance they can lead to stomach problems. You may find yourself experiencing diarrhea, or conversely, constipation.

This can be an inconvenient and uncomfortable problem to deal with on top of growing a human being inside you.

So, inform your doctor if you are facing such side effects so that they can prescribe a better antacid or provide some other remedy.

Kidney Stones

Firstly, frequent consumption of antacids can cause your body tissue to be overly alkaline. This provides the perfect condition for kidney stones to form.

Secondly, if you are taking calcium-based antacids, your body may not be able to absorb all the calcium, which will instead pass into the bladder and cause kidney stones.

Thus, there is a risk of forming kidney stones when taking antacids during pregnancy, and it is extremely important to practice moderation when consuming antacids6.

Conclusion

Water Retention

As mentioned above, it is not advised to take antacids containing high amounts of sodium. This is because substances like sodium bicarbonate and sodium citrate cause water retention in the body tissue. This could lead to your ankles, feet, and hands swelling up.

Pregnant women already experience a lot of difficulty with this, and taking these antacids can make it worse. So it is important to avoid antacids heavy in sodium7.

Related Reading: How To Stay Hydrated During Pregnancy?

Sensitivity/Intolerance to Food

There is always the chance that the antacids work too well. Rather than simply preventing the production of excess stomach acid, it could interfere with the digestion process and cause the food to not be broken down completely. This means the protein passes undigested.

This, in turn, may lead the immune system to act against it and turn them into allergens. It may cause future food allergies or intolerances8.

In addition to the above side effects, you should also be careful when taking antacids if you also take levothyroxine, that is, synthetic thyroid hormone. The two substances can interfere with each other.

Conclusion

Among the many, many symptoms that may or may not plague pregnant women, heartburn is one of the most common. The ensuing burning sensation and other symptoms are not pleasant to experience and can be very difficult to deal with. Naturally, the first and quickest remedy you seek will probably be antacids.

And there is nothing wrong with that! It is completely safe to take antacids during pregnancy, as long as you ensure they do not contain any inadvisable substances and take the necessary precautions. Also, keep in mind that it is important to keep your doctor up-to-date and practice moderation.

And remember that prevention is better than cure! While you can treat heartburn with antacids, you can also very easily reduce the risk of developing it in the first place, with just some minor dietary and lifestyle changes. Do your best to keep yourself and your baby healthy, and you can be assured of a smooth, safe pregnancy.

The content on parenting.miniklub.in is only for informational purposes and is NOT to be used as medical advice. Your DOCTOR is always the best person to guide you through your medical issues.

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