I Accidentally Took Alka Seltzer While Pregnant (Safer Alternatives To Heartburn During Pregnancy)

Alka Seltzer could contain aspirin, an NSAID, which can cause severe damage to the heart and lungs. It could lead to the closing of the heart passageway in the fetus and lower the amniotic fluid. During pregnancy, you should choose medications with calcium carbonate or magnesium, included in acid reducers and PPIs. If you’ve taken it once, it shouldn’t do much harm but as a precaution, let your doctor know for future reference. If heartburn is a recurring issue, try to deal with it by making a few lifestyle changes, including what and when you eat and drink. Foods such as bananas, yogurt, milk, ginger, and water help with heartburn.

Pregnancy comes with lots of ups and downs. One of the common issues most pregnant people suffer from is getting heartburn.

🫀Reportedly, 45 percent of expecting mothers experience heartburn, a common phenomenon during the second and third trimesters.

While there are different ways to treat heartburn, aspirin is the quickest way to deal with it. An expecting mother should avoid taking it at all costs.

Alka Seltzer isn’t considered safe during pregnancy and can lead to some serious harm.

But what if you accidentally took an Alka Seltzer? Will it harm your baby? What can you do next? Are there other ways to deal with heartburn?

Why is Alka Seltzer not suitable for pregnancy?

Heartburn is quite common in pregnant women, a symptom of acid reflux. When the acid travels to the stomach through the esophagus, it’s known as acid reflux or GERD.

This intense feeling of a burning sensation in your chest and throat can be difficult to handle. In women, this acid reflux could happen due to hormone changes or the baby growing in the uterus and getting bigger.

To control heartburn in a person who isn’t pregnant, taking an over-the-counter medicine such as Alka Seltzer is common, but for an expecting mother, it could harm the baby.

Alka Seltzer could contain an active ingredient known as aspirin, an NSAID, which isn’t safe for pregnant women. Using NSAIDs can cause severe damage to the heart and lungs and, in extreme cases, death.

Using a form of Alka Seltzer with aspirin can cause premature closing of a heart passageway in the fetus and lower the amniotic fluid, where the baby stays.

Other active ingredients are sodium bicarbonate and sodium citrate, both high in sodium.

It can cause water retention, and since swelling is common in pregnancy, you would want to avoid further water retention causing bloating.

What to do after taking Alka Seltzer during pregnancy?

You should avoid taking Alka Seltzer to treat your heartburn issues, but if you did take it accidentally, the result wouldn’t be as severe as you think.

Taking Alka Seltzer once in your pregnancy by mistake won’t harm your baby immediately. Taking it often or every day to keep heartburn at bay can affect your fetus.

Then if you keep taking it in the first trimester, you’re more at risk of miscarriage. The chance of getting heart issues is more if you take NSAIDs after the 30th week of pregnancy.

Reading up on the ingredients of an Alka Seltzer is vital to know what you’re consuming. It could be safe for your pregnancy if it doesn’t contain aspirin or another NSAID.

Then there are also other forms of Alka Seltzer, such as Alka Seltzer plus cold relief with ingredients like chlorpheniramine (a decongestant), which can be dangerous for the fetus.

You should always check the ingredients of a medicine you’re taking if it’s non-prescription to avoid any mistakes.

Also, pay attention to preventing a combination of medications that could prove to be harmful.

If you’re worried about your baby’s safety after taking an Alka Seltzer by mistake, speak to your doctor as a safety measure for the future.

It’s best to talk to your healthcare provider to decide the best medication for you. 

Can you take tums to treat heartburn during pregnancy?

Tums is an antacid tablet good for treating a heartburn issue and is a brand version of calcium carbonate simethicone.

A pregnant woman is sitting up in bed as she is feeling uncomfortable due to her heartburn

The calcium carbonate in it is supposed to reduce the acid in your stomach and relieve you, and Simethicone can help break up gas bubbles.

As a chewable tablet, it’s pretty safe and has minimal side effects as a safe way to treat your heartburn during pregnancy.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, TUMS is safer for pregnant women and provides calcium to the body. One thing to remember is not to take it with your iron supplements.

It’s recommended to space your antacids and iron supplements for at least two hours to get the full benefit of both, as antacids can stop the iron supplements from absorbing into your body.

Medicines safe for heartburn during pregnancy

Tums aren’t the only antacid that works well for a pregnant woman. At the same time, an antacid neutralizes stomach acid to cut down on heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion, and upset stomach.

On the other hand, there are different ways to handle heartburn, like taking acid reducers. An acid reducer reduces the amount of acid your stomach makes, and they don’t work as quickly as an antacid, but they last longer.

An acid reducer works best when taken just before a meal. Pepcid combines an acid reducer and antacid, so you’ll get immediate relief from your situation for up to 12 hours.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) also help reduce the body’s acid production and can be used when an antacid or acid reducer doesn’t do the trick. It does take longer than PPI to work, but the treatment lasts longer and is for those who suffer from chronic heartburn for more than two days a week.

But for pregnant women, except for omeprazole, all PPIs are classified as category B drugs by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are safe to use. Omeprazole is classified as a category C drug where human studies aren’t that promising.

However, a study was done in 2010 and published in The New England Journal of Medicine that didn’t find any association between PPI usage in the first trimester and congenital disabilities.

However, apart from taking medications, there are a few tips and tricks and specific lifestyle changes that can help eliminate heartburn.

How to reduce pregnancy heartburn?

Medications are a quick and easy way to control your acid reflux symptoms and provide immediate relief from the situation. But they’re not the long-term solution.

A pregnant woman is eating a small bowl of salad to help change her diet and ease her pregnancy heartburn

There are a couple of changes you can make in your life to suffer less.

  1. Avoid spicy and acidic food items. It includes tomatoes, onions, garlic, caffeine, chocolate, sodas, and other acidic foods.
  2. Avoid fatty and greasy food items as they slow digestion.
  3. Eat frequent but smaller meals. This doesn’t overwhelm or overstuff your stomach and keeps it light.
  4. Where you eat is equally important. Sitting on a chair and table is the right way to eat when you’re in an upright position rather than eating in a reclined position.
  5. Eat at least three hours before sleep. But if you have a midnight craving, ensure you keep the snacks on the healthier side and don’t overstuff yourself.
  6. Eliminating smoking is for obvious reasons to protect your baby from various developmental harms, but smoking elevates acid reflux and causes heartburn.
  7. Try using a good pillow or two if they’re somewhat flat to elevate your head while sleeping.
  8. Although pregnancy does make you avoid fitted and tight clothes, if you’re facing heartburn, then wholly avoid wearing such clothes and start wearing loose-fitted ones.
  9. Don’t drink liquids with your food, although one or two sips are fine. Drink liquids after half an hour of your meals.
  10. Try including ginger in your diet. Ginger tea is an excellent way to do that.
  11. Increase water intake.

FAQs

What does pregnancy heartburn feel like?

There is a burning sensation in your chest, but you’ll also feel bloated, belch a lot, have a sour taste, sore throat, and cough frequently.

Is milk good for heartburn during pregnancy?

Drinking milk and eating yogurt are really good at fighting heartburn and keeping acid reflux at bay.

In addition, milk creates a thin barrier in the lining of the stomach, decreasing irritation.

Is banana good for heartburn?

Banana is a low acid and high-alkaline fruit. It’s good for your digestive tract, can help calm down your heartburn, and is even good for your digestive system.

Does ice cream help heartburn?

Though ice cream sounds like a great idea as it’s sweet and icy, which you believe would calm down your burning sensation, it does the opposite.

It aggravates the reflux even more as ice cream contains fat which slows down the emptying of the stomach, putting pressure on the esophageal sphincter.

Can too many tums be bad for the baby during pregnancy?

Taking tums shouldn’t be a problem as it’s considered safe for treating heartburn during pregnancy. But a daily intake could be harmful to your health.

If you have a recurring issue with reflux, you should see your doctor and find ways to treat it without a lot of medications by making some lifestyle changes.

To summarise

Antacids, acid reducers, and PPIs for immediate relief from heartburn are good options while pregnant but don’t depend on them entirely.

If you accidentally took Alka Seltzer, it shouldn’t do any harm if it was a one-time thing. But if you take them often, then it could harm your baby in various ways. So if you have any doubts, let your doctor know about the accidental intake for future reference.

As a long-term solution to heartburn, it’s best to make some lifestyle changes to deal with it because it’s better than taking medication for it regularly.

As a writer for 1happykiddo, Saumya wants to help new parents and older siblings help raise the newest member added to the family. Her parenting tips come from her experience of being 15 years older than her youngest sibling. When not writing, you can find her reading novels, traveling, and cooking nutritious meals.

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