Heartburn, Acid Reflux, and GERD During Pregnancy

Omeprazole (Cimetidine, Zegerid) probably should be avoided since although there are no studies in pregnant women showing problems, it has been shown to have effects on animal fetuses at very high doses in some studies. Antacids may interfere with iron absorption, and iron is important for the growing fetus. Pregnant women usually receive supplemental iron and a slight decrease in iron absorption (considering the use of supplements) should not result in a deficiency of iron. Insufficient iron intake or absorption is easily detected in blood tests as iron deficiency anemia.

If you had gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) before pregnancy, heartburn is nothing new – but treating it during pregnancy might be. Now that you’re expecting, talk to your practitioner about whether the prescription meds you’re taking are still okay now that you’re pregnant. Many of the tips for fighting heartburn can also help with your reflux. Avoid digestive overload.

Omeprazole is an acid-suppressing medicine that is licensed for use in pregnancy to treat dyspepsia that is still troublesome despite any lifestyle changes and antacids. Omeprazole needs to be taken regularly to be effective. Antacids are alkaline liquids or tablets that neutralise the acid.

There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Some causes of nausea and vomiting may be life threatening, for example, heart attack, abdominal obstruction, and cancers.

Lifestyle changes that may help with symptoms

The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks.

For others, it is fruit juice or tomato-based sauces. It is not unheard of for women to crave a curry during pregnancy but eating lots of spicy, fatty or rich food can make indigestion worse.

There is limited evidence on the effectiveness and safety of current interventions. Generally, the first approach is advice on diet and lifestyle, either to reduce acid production or avoid reflux associated with postural change ( Richter 2005 ) . ANSWER Increased severity of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is associated with the presence of heartburn and acid reflux. Antacids, histamine-2 receptor antagonists, and proton pump inhibitors can be used safely during pregnancy, as large studies have been published with no evidence of adverse fetal effects.

About 80 per cent of pregnant women develop it at some point (Bianco 2017, NICE 2017) . It’s harmless, but it can be painful. Over-the-counter antacids such as Tums, Rolaids, and Maalox may help you cope with occasional heartburn symptoms. Those made of calcium carbonate or magnesium are good options.

See separate leaflet called Pregnancy and Smoking. Dyspepsia occurs at some point in around half of all pregnant women. It is usually due to reflux of acid from the stomach into the oesophagus. Many women who have heartburn during pregnancy have never had problems before. Unfortunately, if you had heartburn before becoming pregnant, you’re more likely to have symptoms while you are pregnant.

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up from the stomach into the oesophagus (gullet) and irritates the lining (mucosa). PPIs are used in non-pregnant women with great success.

For many women, though, acid reflux begins or noticeably worsens in the third trimester because of the baby’s size and its effect on your stomach’s ability to take in and digest food. Sucralfate acts by coating and protecting the lining of the esophagus and stomach and is more effective in an acidic environment. Thus, if sucralfate is being used, it should be taken one-half hour before or after doses of antacids or alginic acid/antacid for maximal effect. A small study in pregnant women showed sucralfate is successful in relieving heartburn and studies in animals have not shown adverse effects of sucralfate on the fetus. Acid reflux is “very, very common” during pregnancy, says Michelle Collins, CNM, an assistant professor of nurse-midwifery at Vanderbilt University.

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