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Heartburn during pregnancy is a frequent complaint among pregnant women. Many women are known to have a burning sensation and experience heartburn during pregnancy’s second and third trimesters. Pregnancy heartburn is common and is harmless. However, the most common question for pregnant women suffering from heartburns is ‘Can you take tums while pregnant?’
In this article below, we shall discuss in detail about can you take tums while pregnant, the dosage prescribed to take tums during pregnancy, the alternatives to tums during pregnancy, and much more about tums during pregnancy.
What is Pregnancy Heartburn?
Pregnancy heartburn or acid reflux is a common condition which most pregnant women are likely to experience. When heartburn happens, the food that you eat moves more slowly in your stomach, and digestion is sluggish, which can cause post-meal bloating.
Many women, however, turn to antacids because of the burning sensation created by meals and acids returning up from the stomach to the esophagus. Pregnancy hormones loosen the valve that divides the esophagus from the stomach, causing this uncomfortable sensation.
What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy?
Because it feeds your womb and the baby inside it, progesterone is known as the “pregnancy hormone.” It is the main cause of pregnancy-related heartburn.
Your uterus expands for space with some of your other organs as it expands to accommodate your developing baby. Your expanding uterus puts pressure on your stomach, similar to a toothpaste tube being squeezed, increasing the likelihood of stomach acid spilling out and causing heartburn.
Can You Take Tums While Pregnant?
Many individuals take Tums, an over-the-counter (OTC) calcium-carbonate antacid, to relieve the symptoms of heartburn. G. Thomas Ruiz, MD, OB/GYN Lead at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center, says that “Using Tums in pregnancy is something that many OB/GYNs have been prescribing for years.”
He also says that for pregnant women, tums provide supplemental calcium for both mom and baby, and tums also treat pregnancy heartburn. Thus taking tums is considered safe during pregnancy- if taken appropriately.
Dosage And Frequency of Tums While Pregnancy
Dosage and frequency of tums during pregnancy should be prescribed by a doctor, just like any other prescription or over-the-counter medical treatment. However, while using Tums for heartburn during pregnancy, there are some general rules to follow.
According to Kimberly Langdon, MD, OB/GYN, Tums function best when taken often — on the order of every 4 hours, because it neutralizes the acid rather than preventing it from being released. Langdon also says that pregnant women can take a maximum of two tablets every 4–6 hours as required for heartburn. She adds, “In general, most women will do fine at this dosage — it may only be problematic in women with a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones.”
Tums are available in a range of strengths, but most pregnancy recommendations relate to the normal strength, which has the lowest dose of 500 mg. According to the makers of Tums tablets, pregnant women should not take more than 10 normal strength tablets in a 24-hours period or for more than two weeks unless under the supervision of a doctor.
Tums During Pregnancy: Things Pregnant Women Should Remember When Taking Tums
You should always stick to the prescribed dosage of Tums unless your doctor tells you differently, especially since Tums contains calcium. Although calcium is an essential element during pregnancy, too much of it could cause the following side effects in pregnant women:
- It could cause kidney stones
- Irregular heartbeat
- Other minerals, such as iron, could have trouble getting digested
Tums and thyroid medicines have a modest risk of interaction. Hence doctors recommend taking a 4 hours gap before consuming these tablets. If you’re taking an iron supplement, wait at least 2 hours between taking the iron tablets and taking Tums.
How To Prevent Heartburn During Pregnancy
Taking tums during pregnancy may help to reduce a severe case of heartburn. The most important factor to prevent heartburn is to change your lifestyle. The following are some of the changes which you need to make in your lifestyle, diet, and eating habits.
1. Watch What You Eat
Avoid meals that are spicy, fatty, acidic, or cause bloating. When you’re not pregnant, you may not have an issue with them, but when you are, they can cause a lot of pain. Some of the foods that need to be avoided are-
- Citrus fruits
- Processed meats
- Fatty foods
2. Drink Water And Stay Hydrated
During pregnancy, it’s essential to drink enough water and stay hydrated throughout the day. If you have heartburn, however, cut back on the number of fluids you drink with your meal and save the water in between. Acidic liquids, such as citrus juices and soda — particularly cola beverages — should be avoided as well.
3. Change Your Food Plan
Eat good food throughout the day instead of three meals a day. Eating regularly is known to prevent heartburn. Eating a small amount of food regularly prevents the stomach from becoming overloaded and allows it to empty more quickly.
4. Don't Sleep After Eating
If pregnant women sleep immediately after eating, they can face digestion problems and in turn, it will lead to heartburn and gastric issues.
5. Don’t Smoke
Smoking during pregnancy causes heartburn and other developmental issues in your baby. Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that relax the valve that holds stomach contents down. Acids and undigested food can flood upward and cause heartburn.
Alternatives To Tums: What Can You Take To Treat Heartburn During Pregnancy?
While you can take tums during pregnancy, the following are some medical alternatives to Tums that you should discuss with your doctor:
- Magnesium hydroxide, for example, is available over the counter.
- H2 blockers are heartburn medications that are safe to take during pregnancy.
- Sucralfate (Carafate), a coating agent and prescription medication for heartburn relief.
Can You Take Tums While Pregnant Final Conclusion:
Although heartburn during pregnancy may be a genuine discomfort, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms. You can receive some relief by altering your diet, staying upright after eating, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers like Tums. Before taking an antacid, it’s always a good idea to see your doctor. If you have any negative side effects, stop taking Tums and it is recommended to contact your doctor.