antidepressant pregnancy autism, excess B vitamins, treat heartburn

Over the last several decades, acid-suppressing drugs have become extremely popular. Medicines like Tagamet, Pepcid, Prilosec and Nexium 24HR are available over the counter, and many people use them frequently to treat heartburn.

When OTC Drugs Pose a Risk to the Fetus:

A new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reveals a possible downside to such medications, however. When pregnant women take such drugs to treat heartburn, their infants appear to be more prone to developing asthma.

The meta-analysis of eight studies including more than a million and a half people showed that babies  exposed in utero to drugs like cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine (Zantac) have a 46 percent higher risk of asthma. Exposure in the womb to PPI drugs such as esomeprazole (Nexium) or omeprazole (Prilosec) was associated with a 30 percent higher risk of asthma in the infants.

The Link Is Puzzling:

Scientists do not know why there may be a connection, and readers should not draw cause-and-effect conclusions. Pregnant women often suffer acid reflux, but they may want to be cautious about how they treat heartburn.

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, online Jan. 9, 2017 

Expectant mothers who would like to treat their symptoms of reflux without medications might be interested in home remedies. We discuss several food-based options in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. Although the effectiveness of nibbling almonds after dinner has not been studied, food-based remedies are unlikely to cause problems.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Siegfried H

    Use food combining for optimal digestion (google article and use flow chart). For example, don’t combine protein and carbs. Digestion reduces protein to amino acid and carbs to sugar. The result for many people is acid reflux. For example, the digestion of steak takes approximately 3 and 1/2 hours; the digestion of steak and potatoes takes about twice as long. Fast-food places like Macdonalds and Wendys would go out of business if people with acid reflux would follow proper food combining; for example, they couldn’t sell hamburgers. And the pharmaceuticals could not take in billions of dollars selling acid reflux medications. There are people who can eat anything without suffering acid reflux but many can’t.

  2. Gussie

    Having just read the article on mammogram test results in Denmark, this article re: acid reflux meds and pregnancy is alarming for women. Women have been overlooked as subjects of medical research. We are not small men biologically speaking who benefit or not as do males. The
    deciders of which research studies to implement and fund are overwhelmingly male. Women are not fairly represented, not out of intention, but more likely that it is
    following past unexplored behaviors & conditioning. We need change.

  3. Susan

    Acid suppressing drugs were probably still in the test tube when I was carrying my children. The heartburn was awful during my first pregnancy when I was on bed rest. I didn’t take anything except something my doctor recommended to take for a short time only. Other than that, I didn’t take medications during my pregnancies.

    I also ate prunes for constipation during my first trimesters. I didn’t like them, but I ate them anyway because they were effective, and not a drug.

    I wish I’d known about eating almonds for heartburn back then. They work really well.

    Everyone should know by now that alcohol is a drug too, and that pregnant women are putting their babies at risk when they drink.

  4. Magyymae

    Back in the 70’s when I was pregnant there were only antacids for heartburn and reflux. Now I have acid reflux that is so severe it is unbearable. This is not a condition to dismiss lightly.

  5. Claire
    Chapel Hill, NC

    There are so many other ways to treat heartburn without the drugs. Why take something that may lead your child to a life with potential asthma? I am sure that you have many suggestions in your remedy books and they work.

    I am a pregnancy massage therapist and national presenter. I teach my pregnant moms to use a simple massage technique, stroking downward on the sternum to the stomach. It works.

    I also suggest many of the natural remedies, such as ginger, apple cider vinegar, baking soda and eating small meals and no liquids at the meals. I am also concerned about Tums and Tums like OTC meds for heartburn. When pregnant less is definitely more.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.