Question: Can I take antacid while pregnant?
Answer: Not only can you take an antacid during pregnancy, but if you are asking you probably should! Heartburn is really common. Between the relaxation of the sphincter muscle at the bottom of the esophagus (food tube) and the pressure of the uterus pushing on the stomach, it is a miracle that every mom-to-be doesn’t live on antacids.
So what do you need to know?
- Tums® and other calcium-based antacids are great sources of calcium. They work for a short time, but ultimately they lead to an increase of acid production, so alone they aren’t really the best treatment.
- The magnesium-based liquid antacids like Mylanta® and Maalox® are the mainstay of treatment for mild heartburn. In healthy moms, exact dosing doesn’t matter—you can even leave it at your bedside and sip it out of the bottle during the night. The worst you’ll notice at higher doses is looser stools, which may be a plus!
- H2 blockers like ranitidine (Zantac®), famotidine (Pepcid®) and cimetidine (Tagamet®) are considered safe in pregnancy. These can be taken in the over-the-counter doses, or prescribed at higher doses by your doctor or midwife.
- Proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec® (omeprazole) are often prescribed in pregnancy but we have less safety data than we do for the H2 blockers.
- Sucralfate (Carafate®) is another type of medication that actually just coats the stomach and esophagus and isn’t absorbed into the body. The liquid form is an ideal medication for heartburn in pregnancy except it is sold only by prescription and can cause constipation.
Talk to your doctor or midwife about which treatment makes the most sense for you.