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Heartburn Medications That Are Safe for Pregnancy

By Sarah Harding ; Updated June 13, 2017

Some women have never experienced heartburn until they became pregnant, and others have had it for years before becoming pregnant. Regardless, pregnancy can increase the likelihood of heartburn for several reasons including hormones, extra weight and pressure from the baby. Heartburn prevention methods, such as eating several small meals throughout the day and avoiding certain trigger foods, are the first line of treatment during pregnancy. When the issue does not improve, a doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription medicines.

Calcium Carbonate

Chewable antacids made from calcium carbonate are thought to be generally harmless during pregnancy, suggests BabyCenter.com. Several brand names are associated with this type of antacid, which, in addition to relieving heartburn can boost a woman's daily calcium intake. American Family Physician points out that this drug is categorized as a class C risk during pregnancy, which means studies in animals have shown some risk to the fetus, but human studies have not been carried out. SafeFetus.com, a website used to check drug safety ratings during pregnancy, does recommend that women avoid this type of antacid during the first trimester, when drugs can have the greatest impact on the fetus. Consulting a physician before taking is recommended.

Magnesium Hydroxide

Like calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide does not have a safety classification. This type of antacid comes in both chewable tablet and liquid form. Like calcium-carbonate antacids, it neutralizes acid as it begins. Studies have not revealed the drug to be safe or unsafe during pregnancy, according to SafeFetus. SafeFetus. recommends that women avoid taking high doses during pregnancy. Without a doctor's OK, a pregnant woman should also avoid taking magnesium hydroxide throughout her pregnancy.

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Magnesium Oxide

Drugs.com describes magnesium oxide as an essential mineral. Taking an oral capsule of this antacid can increase the level of the magnesium in the body and neutralize stomach acid. SafeFetus.com reports this type of antacid is a category B risk during pregnancy. This means that controlled studies on animals in reproduction do not show any risk to the fetus, but the same studies have yet to be carried out in pregnant women.

Antacids to Avoid

Several antacids are not safe during pregnancy or have negative side effects. These includes those that contain aluminum, aspirin, sodium citrate and sodium bicarbonate. BabyCenter.com points out that aluminum can be constipating and toxic in large doses. Aspirin should not be taken during pregnancy, and it is found in some popular fizzy antacid drinks listed as salicylate or acetylsalicylic acid. Sodium bicarbonate, known as baking soda, is sold under sodium citrate, as well. This type of antacid can increase sodium levels and lead to water retention.

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