Many people experience heartburn during pregnancy. While Tums is a common treatment, people can also safely take other antacids and certain other medications for heartburn relief.
Heartburn is one of the main symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), affecting up to
Along with hormonal changes, physical changes also play a role. There is more pressure on the stomach as the fetus grows, so heartburn tends to get worse in the second and third trimesters.
Read on to learn more about safe medications people can take for heartburn during pregnancy.
There are different ways to safely manage heartburn during pregnancy.
Tums is one safe medication during pregnancy, but other medications and strategies can also provide relief.
The first choice for heartburn medication in pregnancy is typically an antacid. Antacids contain a combination of calcium, magnesium, and aluminum salts that work by neutralizing stomach acid.
Antacids include Rolaids, Tums, and Mylanta.
These are generally considered safe, but people should pay attention to the dose. A pregnant person should not take more than
Extended use is associated with several health problems.
If antacids do not work, a doctor may recommend that a person try sucralfate. This medication forms a barrier in the stomach that helps block stomach acid from traveling up the esophagus.
Histamine-2 receptor agonists
The next medication to try is a class called histamine-2 receptor agonists (H2RAs). These help lower the amount of acid produced in the stomach.
This class includes the generic medications cimetidine, famotidine, nizatidine, and ranitidine. Brand names include Pepcid, Tagamet, and Zantac.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Proton pump inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are another medication used for heartburn. They are routinely prescribed for nonpregnant people to help manage heartburn.
PPIs include the following drugs:
However, there may be some risks of PPI use in pregnancy. A
Despite this, a doctor may still prescribe a PPI to a pregnant person if the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
In 2009, a
However, acupuncture will not be right for everyone. If a person is considering acupuncture during pregnancy, it is important that they consult their doctor first.
Additionally, quince fruit extract has been used to treat digestive symptoms for generations.
A 2018 study in pregnant people showed that quince provided a similar level of heartburn relief compared with ranitidine (Zantac). Some people get relief from drinking milk or eating yogurt.
Probiotic supplements may be helpful.
Several things beyond medication may help to manage heartburn. People can try:
- avoiding lying down within 3 hours after eating
- wearing loose-fitting clothing
- eating small, frequent meals instead of fewer larger meals
- limiting fluids with meals
- eating slowly and chewing foods well
- lying on the left side of the body to sleep or rest
- elevating the head of the bed
Some foods are more likely to trigger heartburn. They include:
- spicy foods
- high fat foods
- tomatoes, especially tomato sauce or tomato paste
- high fat meats
- citrus fruits and especially juices
- carbonated drinks
- caffeinated drinks
Not everyone will experience heartburn after eating these foods. A person may consider keeping a food and symptom record to identify triggers.
If a person has made lifestyle changes to prevent heartburn but is still having heartburn, it is a good idea to talk with a doctor.
Additionally, if a person is taking medications and still not getting heartburn relief, contacting a doctor is a good idea. There may be changes in the dose, timing, or medication that can help.
Heartburn is very common during pregnancy. It can disrupt sleep and eating and generally affect quality of life.
There are many strategies to help prevent or manage heartburn, and some people may try medications.
If an antacid does not work, it is best for a person to discuss other options with their doctor to weigh the risks and benefits.