You Might Want To Think Twice About That Heartburn Medicine

Many women suffer from heartburn during their pregnancies. There are even old wives' tales that center around heartburn as a prediction of how hairy your baby's head will be. (The more heartburn a pregnant mother has = the more hair the baby will have.)

Now, we know that old wives' tales aren't necessarily true (although some mother might swear they are and hope to find some kind of reason for their terrible heartburn!). But we also know that a lot of women do get heartburn during pregnancy. The reason many women get heartburn is part of preparing for the birth of a child. During pregnancy, a woman's body has excess hormones that cause certain parts of her body to relax more. This relaxed nature, in combination with the pressure of the baby on her stomach and the fact that her stomach is out of room, works together to push everything up. This causes heartburn. 

{ MORE: Just Found Out You're Pregnant? Here's What to Do Right Away }

It's no fun for anyone. Just the memory of how uncomfortable heartburn was during my last pregnancy is making me have heartburn again. Ugh. To get through the months of discomfort, many women turn to medicine to tame their heartburn during their pregnancies. But now, a new study has found that there may be a link between heartburn medicine during pregnancy and asthma risks for babies. 

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Image via Flickr/ Yaniv Yaakubovich

The study analysis looked at over eight studies over a period of up to 14 years, including 1.8 million parents. They looked at the risk of pregnant women taking heartburn medicines that contain H2 blockers, such as Pepcid or Tagamet. Unfortunately, they did find that those types of heartburn medicines came with a 46% increased risk of childhood asthma.

The other types of heartburn medicine which work as proton pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec or Nexium, also carried a risk of asthma, although the risk was lower. Medicines such as Prilosec carried an increased risk of 30% for asthma rates. In addition to increasing the risk of asthma in the children, the data also seemed to suggest that there was an increased risk for children to develop skin allergies. 

{ MORE: Bleeding During Pregnancy: What's Normal? }

So what does this all mean? As with everything in pregnancy, taking regular medicine can carry a risk for the baby that has to be carefully weighed with the health of the mother, too. 

If you are having regular heartburn, try the following:

  • Try a chewable antacid, like Tums, instead of a heartburn medicine like Pepcid
  • Avoid spicy foods, caffeine, tomatoes, and chocolate
  • Avoid large meals
  • Maintain an upright position after meals and when sleeping if necessary

Do you have any other tips for treating heartburn naturally?

What do you think?

You Might Want To Think Twice About That Heartburn Medicine

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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