Heartburn and indigestion are among the uncomfortable pregnancy experiences you may be going through right now. It’s no wonder you’re looking for some relief. So, can you take Alka-Seltzer while pregnant? Let’s dive in.
Alka-Seltzer is an over-the-counter antacid used to treat symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.
This is a common ailment in pregnancy, affecting up to 45% of pregnant women.
As your baby grows, they can push against your stomach. Added to this, pregnancy hormones are expert at making your muscles relax.
One group of muscles they might impact is the valve at the entrance to your stomach.
The result? It doesn’t close completely.
This can lead to the odd occurrence of heartburn, or, if it happens frequently, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Along with heartburn, GERD can cause chest pain, regurgitation of your food, and difficulty swallowing. Not fun. While it can happen any time during your pregnancy, it’s most common in the third trimester.
So how can you find some relief? Is Alka-Seltzer safe during pregnancy? Let’s take a look.
In this article: 📝
- Can pregnant women take Alka-Seltzer?
- Can you take Alka-Seltzer Plus while pregnant?
Can pregnant women take Alka-Seltzer?
Sorry, mama. This one’s a no. And that’s because of its ingredient list — aspirin, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid.
Low-dose aspirin is safe if prescribed by your doctor to treat or prevent the onset of preeclampsia — but it’s not recommended for other purposes.
Aspirin belongs to a class of meds called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
The FDA warns against the use of NSAIDs beyond 20 weeks, as they have been linked to the possible development of rare kidney problems in unborn babies.
By 20 weeks, your baby’s kidneys are producing most of their amniotic fluid, the protective liquid that nourishes and keeps them safe while they’re inside you.
If something gets in the way of their kidney function, it could affect their fluid supply.
Amniotic fluid not only provides protection for your little one, but also helps in the development of all their major systems.
So low supply can provide challenges for them as they grow.
2. Sodium bicarbonate
So this one’s not as much on the no-go list as aspirin is, but it should also be approached with caution.
Sodium bicarbonate (AKA baking soda) is on the FDA’s pregnancy category C.
That means animal studies have shown some potentially dangerous effects for the fetus, but there are no conclusive human studies to this effect.
Substances under this label might be beneficial to pregnant women, but only if the benefits outweigh the risks.
While we don’t know for sure if sodium bicarbonate can hurt an unborn baby, we do know that it can cause fluid build-up in your body.
Swelling is already on the list of possible pregnancy symptoms, so you may not want to add another instigator to the mix.
So, the bottom line? Go with your doctor’s recommendation on this one — but because it’s not deemed 100% safe, it’s best avoided in OTC medication.
3. Anhydrous citric acid
Like sodium bicarbonate, citric acid should only be used if the benefits outweigh the risks.
That’s because there’s not enough research on whether it’s harmful to pregnant women.
Because of its sodium content, citric acid can lead to water retention and swelling.
So what are the alternatives? Can you take TUMS while pregnant? As it turns out, the answer to this one is yes!
That’s because the main ingredient in TUMS is calcium carbonate, which is a safe option during pregnancy.
Plus, there’s a bonus here. TUMS may help you get your calcium intake up, something that’s very important during pregnancy.
We take you through all the details here.
Other things that can help?
If you have GERD, proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec and Nexium) might help.
These have been classified as safe for use in pregnancy — but it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking new medications.
And then, here are some lifestyle adjustments to try:
- Eat smaller meals, more often, slowly
- Avoid high-acid foods like citrus and vinegar
- Minimize your caffeine intake
- Steer clear of processed food that is high in fat and sodium
- Stay away from alcohol and cigarettes (a good idea anyway when you’re pregnant)
Can you take Alka-Seltzer Plus while pregnant?
Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold is used to treat cold and flu symptoms.
As things stand, it’s not known whether Alka-Seltzer Plus will harm an unborn baby.
There is some evidence to suggest that the medication might be passed on to your baby if you’re breastfeeding, and that some of its decongestant ingredients could get in the way of milk production.
All in all, while you’re pregnant and/or breastfeeding, it’s not a good idea to take this medication unless under the guidance of your doctor.
Having cold and flu symptoms right now can be a real struggle.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is generally recommended as a safe medication — but talk to your healthcare provider about what the best treatment is for you right now.
Some other options, like Theraflu, may work better for you, but always speak with your doctor first.
We know. Not feeling well while you’re pregnant can feel overwhelming.
Reach out to your Peanut community. You don’t have to go through this alone.
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