Medication and alternative medicine options to treat acid reflux during pregnancy
Some medications are safe to use during pregnancy at recommended doses. It may be recommended that medications be taken before a meal or before going to bed.
- Antacids: Most non-prescription antacids are generally safe to use during pregnancy. Antacids to avoid are those that contain sodium bicarbonate which can cause fluid build-up, as well as maternal or foetal metabolic alkalosis. Aluminium or magnesium based antacids can cause constipation or diarrhoea, and are best avoided during the third trimester as they can interfere with contractions during labour. Antacids which contain calcium carbonate (such as Tums and Gaviscon) are safe for expectant moms in specific doses. Taken on an empty stomach, calcium carbonate antacids neutralise acid for between 30 and 60 minutes. If taken with food or shortly after a meal, this protective effect may provide relief for up to 2 or 3 hours. Many antacids are available over-the-counter without a prescription and may be suggested for milder cases. It is advisable to chat to your pharmacist for advice about which ones are most suitable for you before purchasing. If your pain is more severe, it is best to consult your physician for stronger treatment that is also safe in pregnancy.
- Alginates: These are antacids that are combined with another type of medicine. Alginates work by forming a foam barrier on the surface of the stomach, which help to prevent acid from leaking back up.
- Iron supplements: If you are taking an antacid along with iron supplements, it is best not to take the two at the same time. Antacids can prevent iron from being properly absorbed in the body. Antacids can be taken at least 2 hours before or after your iron supplement.
- Acid-suppressing medications which may be prescribed include Ranitidine and Omeprazole.
Alternative medicinal options may include:
- Relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery.
*It is strongly advisable to check with your doctor before trying any new or alternative treatments, as well as check all labels of medications before purchasing in the case of ingredient changes to a product.