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Is Sodium Citrate Safe During Pregnancy?

By Sara Ipatenco ; Updated June 13, 2017

Taking anything during pregnancy should be done with caution. The things you consume while pregnant can reach your placenta, and, ultimately, your unborn baby. Speak with your doctor about any supplements and medications you take, as soon as you find out you are pregnant so you can work together to decide which are necessary. Sodium citrate, also known as citric acid, is an ingredient found in antacids, which you may need if you experience heartburn, a common pregnancy complaint. Learn more about this substance to determine whether you should avoid it during the prenatal months.

Uses

Sodium citrate is used to treat kidney disorders, such as kidney stones, as well as certain metabolic disorders involving the function of the kidneys. This substance works by neutralizing excess acid in the urine and the blood. Many patients take sodium citrate to help neutralize the acid in the gastrointestinal system, as well. Sodium citrate is also an ingredient in heartburn treatments.

Pregnancy

Heartburn is a common complaint during pregnancy, as your uterus expands and pushes on your stomach and intestines. If you experience heartburn, your doctor has likely recommended certain dietary and lifestyle changes to help. If these do not work, over-the-counter or prescription medications may help alleviate your discomfort. Some heartburn medications contain sodium citrate, but check with your doctor before using them to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Consequences

The most common side effects associated with taking sodium citrate include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These can make your pregnancy more uncomfortable, but if they are ongoing, you may also experience nutrient loss. Sodium citrate also contains salt, which can cause you to retain more water. Water retention is common during pregnancy and sodium can make the situation worse. Too much sodium during pregnancy may also lead to high blood pressure, a condition that can be harmful to you and your unborn baby.

Alternatives

If you and your doctor determine that sodium citrate is not right for you during pregnancy, there are alternatives for treating heartburn. Baby Center recommends acid reducers, which are sold both as over-the-counter medications and prescriptions. They help reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces, so you are less likely to suffer from heartburn. Other antacids are considered safe for use during pregnancy, so opt for one of these instead. Chewable antacids that contain calcium carbonate may be your best bet. Products containing magnesium hydroxide or magnesium oxide are considered safe for use during pregnancy, as well. Remember to consult your doctor before taking any medications during your pregnancy.

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