Can I Take Alka Seltzer While Pregnant?
Congratulations! You’re having a baby! There are many things to be excited about while expecting. However, pregnancy can also come with symptoms that are not so fun, like heartburn. It is reported that 17% to 47% of pregnant patients experience heartburn. Some studies show that heartburn increases from 22% in the first trimester to 39% in the second trimester to between 60% and 72% in the third trimester.
If you suffer from heartburn during pregnancy, you may be wondering if you can take medication like Alka Seltzer to help soothe the symptoms. Here is what you need to know about taking heartburn medication during pregnancy.
What heartburn medications can I take during pregnancy?
First and foremost, it’s important to note that it can be hard to know what medications are safe for your baby as most treatments are not studied on pregnant women. However, some medicines that women have been taking for long enough that doctors can be sure of the level of safety associated with their usage. With that being said, you should always consult with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication or starting or stopping a prescription medication.
Is Alka Seltzer safe to take while pregnant?
Alka Seltzer is an over-the-counter medicine frequently used to treat heartburn. However, an active ingredient in many Alka Seltzer products is aspirin, which should be avoided by pregnant patients unless prescribed by your provider to treat other medical issues. Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs), and when taken by pregnant patients, it can cause a rare but serious kidney problem in unborn babies. This could lead to low amniotic fluid levels surrounding a baby, leading to other complications. Other active ingredients in Alka Seltzer are sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and sodium citrate. Both ingredients are high in sodium, which can cause water retention. Swelling is often an unwanted pregnancy symptom, so you should be aware of any products that cause further water retention.
Some Alka Seltzer products, such as Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Alka-Seltzer Plus Day, contain chlorpheniramine, phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine, which are ingredients used to help treat cold and allergy symptoms. Pregnant patients should avoid these ingredients.
Are antacids, such as TUMS, safe to take during pregnancy?
TUMS are chewable antacids made from calcium carbonate, which according to the American Pregnancy Association, provides safe heartburn relief for pregnant women. TUMS also adds calcium to your body. When you are pregnant, your body may need between 1,000 milligrams and 1,300 milligrams of elemental calcium per day.
Some other antacids on the market, such as Maalox, Mylanta and Rolaids, contain magnesium hydroxide or magnesium oxide and aluminum hydroxide. While these antacids are generally safe when used occasionally, they might not be your best option while pregnant because aluminum hydroxide can cause constipation and, in large doses, is toxic.
Is Pepcid safe to take during pregnancy?
Pepcid is an over-the-counter medication with an active ingredient of famotidine. Pepcid combines an H2 blocker (medicines that work by reducing the amount of stomach acid secreted by glands in the lining of your stomach) with an antacid. This combination starts neutralizing acid in your stomach in seconds, so it works even faster. Pepcid is a great option for heartburn or upset stomach, and it is relatively safe to take during pregnancy with no true risks unless you’re allergic to this medication.
Tips to prevent heartburn during pregnancy
In addition to taking an antacid like TUMS, some lifestyle and food modifications can help prevent heartburn. If you are experiencing heartburn while pregnant, try these tips:
- Instead of eating three big meals a day, try eating smaller meals several times throughout the day.
- Eat your food slowly, and chew thoroughly. Eating and drinking too fast make you swallow air, causing you to bloat.
- Avoid foods that can trigger heartburn, including foods and beverages that have acid or vinegar in them. Examples include chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, tomatoes, citrus fruits and foods that are overly processed, spicy or high in fat.
- While it is important to drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day while pregnant, make sure you are sipping slowly and not drinking too fast. Avoid carbonated beverages.
- Avoid eating too close to bedtime. Heartburn can be induced by lying down. Give your body two to three hours to digest your food before you lay down.
What if my heartburn doesn’t get better?
If your heartburn doesn’t clear up by taking an antacid like TUMS or changing your lifestyle habits, your provider may consider using something longer lasting, like an acid reducer. These are typically taken before a meal and help prevent your stomach from producing acid. Some are over the counter, while others, you will need a prescription. Always talk to your provider or midwife before you start taking a medication.
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