Most moms-to-be suffer from heartburn at some point during their pregnancies, but are medications safe to take?

Dear Dr. Manny,
Can pregnant women take heartburn medications?

Heartburn is very common during pregnancy. In fact, more than half of all pregnant women report having symptoms of severe heartburn during their second and third trimesters.

Heartburn often occurs during pregnancy because of the change in hormone levels. An increase in the hormone progesterone relaxes the stomach valve that keeps acid out of the esophagus.

It’s important for you to remember that antacids can interfere with the absorption of certain vitamins like iron, which is essential during pregnancy, because it aids in the production of hemoglobin used to carry oxygen to the placenta.

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There are two types of heartburn drugs; one kind neutralizes acid, and the other kind decreases acid production. Both are generally safe to use as long as they are not abused. But these medications should only be used in conjunction with alternative therapies including:

  • Eating almonds
  • Drinking coconut water or ginger tea
  • Taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • Using natural herbs like slippery elm
  • Sitting or standing after meals
  • Elevating the head and chest in bed
  • Keeping a food journal to identify triggers

Always talk to your doctor before taking any medications, as he or she can help you make the best decision for you and your baby based on your medical history.

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