Heartburn is a common discomfort experienced during pregnancy. However, many women experience heartburn for the first time after getting pregnant. Generally, it is harmless but it can be uncomfortable. This common concern makes the question, is it alright to take TUMS during pregnancy also common.
TUMS During Pregnancy: What is heartburn?
Heartburn (also called acid indigestion or acid reflux) is a burning sensation that often extends from the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat. It is caused by hormonal and physical changes in your body. During pregnancy, the placenta produces the hormone progesterone. Progesterone relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus but it also relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This allows gastric acids to seep back up, which causes that unpleasant burning sensation.
TUMS During Pregnancy
Most people know that antacids can provide fast, safe relief for heartburn. The question you have is whether or not it is alright to take TUMS during pregnancy? TUMS provides safe heartburn relief for women who are pregnant. TUMS also adds calcium to your body. When you are pregnant, your body may need between 1,000mg and 1,300mg of elemental calcium per day. Be sure to take TUMS at a different time than you take iron supplements. It is recommended to space doses of these antacids and iron supplements one to two hours apart, to get the full benefit from each medicine or dietary supplement.
You do want to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any antacids containing sodium bicarbonate.
TUMS During Pregnancy and Other Health Steps
Altering your diet or adjusting your lifestyle should be the first thing you try when looking to manage your pregnancy heartburn. If you pay attention, you will probably notice that certain foods are more likely to trigger heartburn.
Here are some steps you can take:
- Avoid food and beverages that cause you gastrointestinal distress - For example: caffeine; chocolate; acidic foods like citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, mustard, and vinegar; processed meats; mint products; and spicy, highly seasoned, fried, or fatty foods.
- Do not eat big meals. Instead, eat several small meals throughout the day. Take your time eating and chew thoroughly.
- Avoid drinking large quantities of fluids during meals — you don’t want to distend your stomach. (It’s important to drink eight to ten glasses of water daily during pregnancy, but sip it between meals.)
- Try chewing gum after eating – Chewing gum stimulates your salivary glands, and saliva can help neutralize acid.
- Do not eat close to bedtime – Give yourself two to three hours to digest before you lie down.
Keep in mind that the majority of pregnant women experience heartburn during pregnancy and take TUMS for relief and go on to have a normal and healthy pregnancy.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Mayo Clinic. (2004).Mayo Clinic Guide to A Healthy Pregnancy. United States of America: Harper Collins.
Barbieri, Robert L. and Reecce, E. Albert. (2010Obstetrics and Gynecology The Essentials of Clinical Care. Berlin, Germany: Thieme Publishing Group.