Antacids cure heartburn, and in pregnant women, the chances of heartburn are more. But the important question here is, are antacids safe to be consumed during pregnancy? Let’s find out.
Heartburn is one of the most common complaints amongst pregnant women. It can be very discomforting, but whether taking antacids when you are pregnant is safe, is a question that troubles most first-timers. So, are antacids safe to take during pregnancy? The answer to that question would be, YES, if taken only as prescribed. If you take more than your doctor prescribes, it may have some negative effects on you and the baby, which has to be avoided.
Pregnancy, Heartburn, and Antacids
Why is heartburn so common during pregnancy? Here is why – when you are pregnant, the level of progesterone in your body is higher than otherwise. Because of this high level of progesterone, the valve between the food pipe and the stomach is relaxed. Usually what this valve does is, it prevents the acids in the stomach from rising into the food pipe, but when this valve is relaxed, it cannot prevent this from happening. So there is a frequent feeling of bile rising in the throat.
To get relief from heartburn, antacids are the best bet. Antacids reduce the acidic property of the acids in the stomach, by neutralizing them. They do so, by increasing the pH value of the acids. The acids in the stomach are necessary for proper absorption of certain nutrients, without which, our immunity to various petty diseases and infections reduces. So, an overdose of antacids will make you vulnerable to other health concerns, especially during pregnancy. Safety lies in taking the right dosage of antacids. Since it is clear that antacids do not cure heartburn; instead they just neutralize the effect of it, the best thing to do is to avoid getting heartburn, and that is not a very difficult thing to do, as will be discussed in the following paragraphs.
What Type of Antacids are Safe During Pregnancy?
There are many classes of medicines, based upon the effect they have on the fetus. Consumption in appropriate dosage is critical to avoid any side effects of antacids. The classification is as follows:
- Class A: This class of medicines will cause no harm to your fetus, and are perfectly safe to take when you are pregnant.
- Class B: These are a little dodgy. They do not cause any harm according to what has been observed so far, but there are no studies supporting this.
- Class C: These medicines, when taken more than the prescribed dosage, may cause trouble to the fetus, so they should be taken only if absolutely necessary.
- Class D: These are really strong medicines, and should be strictly avoided, unless prescribed by the doctor. They have been known to cause birth defects in children.
- Class X: Class X is not for pregnant women. The harm that these medicines can cause to the fetus is much more than any other class, and it totally overpowers the benefits these medicines can have on the mother.
Pregnant women can opt for herbal antacids instead of the normal ones. These are absolutely safe, and won’t harm the fetus, so they can be consumed without worry. Moderation is necessary though, since an overdose of anything is never good. An overdose of antacids may tend to be the cause of constipation in pregnant women, but does not really adversely affect the fetus.
Best Antacids to Take During Pregnancy
*Note: Please consult your doctor before consuming any of the following antacids. Depending on the stage of your pregnancy, your general health, and medical history, any of these may or may not be suitable for you.
Here are some of the best antacids to take during pregnancy, that second-timers may vouch for:
- Zantac (on prescription)
Besides these, there are also a few natural foods which act as antacids, that you can include in your diet.
- Steamed Cabbage
- Ice cream (although not very natural, this is one of the best things to consume to reduce heartburn!)
- Mustard (an unusual and not often heard of remedy, but works)
A few other herbal remedies and antacids are:
- Fruitin (antacid)
- Barette (antacid)
- Slippery Elm
Avoiding Heartburn During Pregnancy
Treating heartburn is not a very tough task, and can be very safe if you follow the instructions of your doctor. But it is always better to stay on a natural and herbal diet anytime, and more so when you are pregnant. So, here are a few ways in which you can avoid getting heartburn, so that the question of treating it doesn’t arise.
- Avoid eating greasy, spicy, oily, and fatty food altogether, or as much as possible.
- Follow your meals with some yogurt/ a glass of cold milk/ a glass of buttermilk/ a glass of warm milk with a spoonful of honey, etc.
- Do not sleep immediately after a meal. Keep a gap of at least 1 hour before lying down.
- Avoid large gaps between meals. This causes the acids in the stomach to build up, since they are not being used up for digesting/ absorbing. Get into the habit of eating small meals frequently, rather than three big meals a day.
- While sleeping, make sure that your head is at an elevated level as compared to the rest of your body. Also, avoid other things that may cause acid reflux, like bending over, stooping, propping up your legs and back while sleeping to relieve backache, etc.
- Avoid consumption of foods and fruits that are acidic/ citric in nature. Also, avoid caffeine.
Your health is of prime importance when you are pregnant, to ensure that your baby is safe and healthy. You can now breathe easy. Taking good care will help you have a happy, healthy pregnancy, without any niggling worries.