Is It Safe To Take Tums While You Are Pregnant?

Tums During Pregnancy

While you are pregnant, heartburn is a common occurrence. It can lead to complications, side effects, and discomfort. While you do want to get rid of that irritating heartburn, you also want to ensure that any medicine you take doesn’t affect your unborn baby. However, the level of discomfort could force your hand, and you might have to take medications for your condition.

So, if you are considering taking Tums during pregnancy to treat your heartburn, you might want to read our post. Here, we look at Tums and whether the medication has any health concerns for pregnant moms.

What Is Tums?

Tums is a type of antacid that is made using a combination of sucrose, which is sugar, and calcium carbonate. It is a specific type of antacid that is manufactured in the St. Louis, Missouri area of the United States by the brand GlaxoSmithKline. The Tums antacid is also available in a no sugar form and is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug that is easily available at most retail stores in the U.S. According to the manufacturers, it helps provide quick and effective relief from heartburn and indigestion.

The story behind the invention of Tums is that in the year 1928, a pharmacist by the name of Jim Howe was trying to help his wife who was suffering from indigestion. In his efforts to make a cure that would work, he ended up creating Tums in the basement of his house. Soon he shared it with others, and as the medicine became popular due to its effectiveness, the manufacturer began on a commercial scale. The Tums tablets are available as regular, chewable tablets and come in a wide variety of flavors, making them convenient (1).

Is It Safe To Take Tums During Pregnancy?

You may have tried using Tums earlier before you were pregnant and may have found it quite effective in treating your heartburn. As a result, you may now also want to try using Tums while pregnant and when you experience a lot of heartburn. The one thing, however, that you need to keep in mind, is that Tums was not manufactured as a medication that can be taken while you are pregnant.

The first thing you must do before taking Tums while pregnant is to speak to your doctor about it and get a confirmation that it is safe for you to consume during your pregnancy. Moreover, here are a few points you can go through before you decide on whether or not you want to take Tums in pregnancy:

  • When you take Tums while pregnant, it will provide immediate relief from heartburn while making sure that your unborn baby remains safe, and there are no side effects.
  • Tums can also provide an additional dose of calcium. While you are pregnant, you need more calcium than normal women. You will most likely need anything between 1000 mg and 1300 mg of elemental calcium on a daily basis, depending on your overall health and diet.
  • While you do take Tums when pregnant, make sure you take it separately from your iron supplements and not around the same time. It is recommended that you keep a gap of at least one or two hours between your iron supplements and the time when you take Tums, so that you will get the maximum amount of benefit from both your supplement and medicine (2).

Before You Take Tums While You Are Pregnant:

Of course, it goes without saying that before you take Tums while you are pregnant, you should first speak to your doctor and get a confirmation that it is safe for you to have it. However, here are a few things you should keep in mind before you take Tums while you are pregnant:

1. Make Sure You Understand The Dosage:

Discuss with your doctor and understand any health or safety instructions about taking the medication. Make sure that you understand the dosage properly, and if you feel any confusion or are not able to get a clear picture, ask your doctor to write it down in detail. You can also write down the instructions in your way on the prescription so that you will be able to remember it better. Follow the instructions carefully and have only as much as your doctor has asked you to have.

2. Do Not Take It As A Supplement For Calcium:

Tums has a good amount of calcium in it, but make sure you do not use it as a calcium supplement while you are pregnant. Of course, you need a good amount of calcium during your pregnancy, but taking Tums as a supplement is not a healthy or safe choice. While you are pregnant, you need about 1300 mg of calcium on a daily basis. Instead of having Tums as a supplement that will help you take care of your daily calcium needs, you should concentrate on adding more calcium-rich sources of foods, such as milk and other dairy products.

3. Be Aware Of Teratogenicity Especially In The First Trimester:

Try and avoid taking Tums in your first trimester, the first three months when you are pregnant. When you take Tums in the first trimester, it can lead to a condition known as teratogenicity. It is a condition in which the unborn baby can develop certain abnormalities while still in the womb.

4. Do Not Take Tums If You Have Kidney Problems:

While you are pregnant, you should avoid taking Tums if you have been diagnosed with any problems of the kidney. Also, if your doctor has placed you on a high risk of getting a kidney disease, you should stay away from using Tums entirely. As Tums has a good amount of calcium in it, it can lead to stone formations in the kidney and prove disastrous especially if you have a tendency of kidney related issues.

5. Do Not Take Tums If You Have Parathyroid Gland Disorder:

The parathyroid glands are located at the back of your thyroid glands. If you have parathyroid gland disorder, have a history of the same or are prone to it, it means you have a high risk of suffering from a severe imbalance of calcium levels in your body. As Tums contains a good amount of calcium in it, taking it while you have parathyroid gland disorder can lead to a dangerous health situation, both for you as well as for your unborn baby.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Taking Tums While You Are Pregnant?

You may have easily popped in a pill of Tums earlier when you were not pregnant and not experienced any side effects. However, once you are pregnant, you need to be very careful about having Tums to take care of your heartburn. Here are a few side effects that you may experience once you take Tums for heartburn during pregnancy:

  • Dryness in your mouth
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Belching
  • Frequent and urgent need to urinate

What Do You Mean By Heartburn?

Heartburn is also often known as indigestion. It is a condition in which you feel a kind of burning sensation in your body, that may start from the bottom of your breastbone, right under your chest area, and will come up to almost the lower part of your throat. While you are pregnant, heartburn is mostly caused due to the various hormonal as well as the physiological changes in your body.

During pregnancy, your placenta produces a hormone known as progesterone, which helps soothe those muscles of your uterus that are smooth. In turn, it helps your uterus stretch in the months of your pregnancy so that your unborn baby gets more space to grow and develops comfortably. However, as the progesterone hormone relaxes the muscles of your uterus, it also ends up relaxing the muscles in your digestive tract as well as the muscular valve that lies between your esophagus and your stomach. The muscular valve helps keep your esophagus and your stomach separate from each other. When the valve gets a result, the various gastric acids that your body produces get an opening to come right back up and lead to the uncomfortable feeling of heartburn.

Natural Ways To Prevent Heartburn While You Are Pregnant:

The many hormonal and physical changes that you go through during pregnancy can make it difficult for you to avoid heartburn altogether. However, it is always a better option to try and prevent or reduce the occurrence of heartburn, so that you need lesser medication to control it while you are pregnant. Instead of trying to take care of the condition once heartburn begins, you can make a few healthy changes in your lifestyle as a preventive measure, so that you can control the amount of heartburn you may experience. Here are a few tips that can help you minimize this uncomfortable situation:

1. Observe What Triggers Your Heartburn:

Be a little observant and take note of what causes you heartburn, or what may increase the symptoms. Sometimes, skipping out these foods from your diet can be the best way to avoid heartburn at all. If you often try out a lot of variations in food or are not able to remember what you ate and what may have caused heartburn, you can try and maintain a small food journal that will help you jot down your meals. Make a note of what you ate, how much you ate, what day you had it and at what time. Make sure you write about everything you ate or drank. It will also help you get the right type of treatment in case you break out in a food allergy while you are pregnant.

2. Avoid Foods That Can Cause Stomach Irritation:

You may not feel that certain foods are directly responsible for your heartburn, but if they cause any irritation or discomfort in your stomach, you should avoid them as well. Certain types of foods can cause gas buildup in your system, and eating them repeatedly while you are pregnant can make you feel bloated and gassy, which can finally lead to heartburn. A few foods you should be careful of and should also try to avoid or reduce intake are processed meats, vinegar, tomatoes, acidic foods such as citric fruits and their juices, caffeine, chocolate, mint based products, very spicy or fried foods, fatty foods, foods that have too much seasoning, mustard.

3. Watch Your Meal Portions:

Try to eat meals in smaller quantities and space them out over the course of the day. If you eat a very big portion at once, it can cause you a lot of discomforts and will be difficult for your system to digest properly. As a result, you can experience gas and flatulence, which can again turn into indigestion and result in heartburn. Instead of having three big meals a day, you can try and divide it into six smaller meals and have light snacks in between whenever you feel hungry.

4. Chew Your Food Properly And Slowly:

While you will reduce the amount of food you have at a time, it is also important for you to take care that what you are eating is chewed properly. Take good time to chew your food slowly as it will help your system to digest it properly and avoid any gas or flatulence.

5. Avoid Having Too Many Fluids While You Eat:

You may feel thirsty while you have your meals, or you may want to have a glass or two of juice, water or any other fluid while you have your meal. However, it is best to avoid having too much of fluid while you have your food, as it can distend your stomach and make you prone to gas, bloating and flatulence. If you are thirsty or want to have some fluids at the time of your meal, make sure you sip it slowly and do not gulp it down too fast. Also, make sure you first chew your food properly and finish the bite in your mouth, and then have your fluids.

6. Maintain A Gap Between Meal Time And Bed Time:

Make sure that you keep a good amount of gap of at least an hour or two between your last meal of the day and your bedtime. When you keep that gap between food and bedtime, it will help your body digest the food better and avoid any indigestion, gas buildup or heartburn. If you go to bed immediately after you have had your meal, your body will not be able to digest the food properly. Keeping a gap between having your meal and going to sleep means that you do not go to bed during that time at all. You may feel that you can lie down and rest and not sleep and that it will still help your body to digest the food while you are awake. However, lying down will slow down the digestion process, so it is best that you remain in a seated position. Also, you can make use of the time to go for a nice long walk after your meal, as it will help your body digest the food faster and better, while also allowing you time to have your exercise, which is very important while you are pregnant.

Home Remedies To Treat Heartburn While You Are Pregnant:

Instead of popping those pills or Tums, here are a few natural remedies you can try at home that may help you ease that heartburn. In case nothing helps, make sure you speak to your doctor about it and see what you can do best. For now, try these out:

1. Cold Milk And Honey:

Have a glass of cold milk with a tbsp. of honey. before going to bed or if you feel the heartburn coming up.

2. Plain Yogurt:

You can also have a small bowl or a few spoons of chilled plain yogurt as a regular everyday snack.

3. Ice Cream:

If you start feeling uncomfortable or feel that there is a bit of burning sensation in your stomach, try having a scoop of ice cream as it can help reduce symptoms of indigestion and heartburn.

4. Fresh Basil Leaves:

Chew on a few fresh and cleaned basil leaves as an instant home remedy to treat heartburn. Not only will chewing on the fresh leaves work wonders on your indigestion and heartburn, but it will also leave a refreshing taste in your mouth, which can feel a little off if you have indigestion.

5. Slippery Elm:

Try having a few slippery elm lozenges as they help to cure your symptoms of indigestion by absorbing any extra amount of acid that your body might be producing. It will also help to bring down any inflammation that may be present in the lining of your gastrointestinal tract. If you do not want to have slippery elm in the form of lozenges, you can also try it out in its powder form if you have the option. You can make a mix using slippery elm and honey that will help to keep your digestive system in good working condition and will help to avoid any indigestion. Boil two cups of water and add two tbsp. of slippery elm powder. Let it steep in the boiled water for about five minutes. Next, add a tsp or tbsp. of honey to it as per your preference and have it as tea. You can also skip the honey part but adding honey will further aid to improve your digestion.

6. Ginger Tea:

Have a cup of ginger tea to help your digestion get back on track and prevent any traces of heartburn. You can also steep a simple ginger tea by grating fresh ginger and adding it to a pan of water. Let the tea come to a boil and set it aside to cool while the ginger is still inside. Once it cools to a comfortable, warm temperature that you can safely sip on, you can either drain out the ginger and drink just the water or have it in its entirety and also chew on the fresh ginger pieces. You can have the ginger tea once in the morning and once at night before going to bed, as it will help to keep your digestive system running smoothly.

7. Fennel Seed Tea:

Try and have a cup of fennel seed tea each day after having a meal. It is a great natural remedy that can help you prevent or reduce your symptoms of heartburn especially when you are pregnant. However, make sure that you do not consume more than one cup of fennel seed tea a day, as too much of the same can have a negative impact on your health. It is best that you first speak to your doctor about the dosage before you have it while you are pregnant. To make fennel seeds tea, you can first crush the fennel seeds at home to a fine powder or a coarsely ground mix. Next, add about two to three tsp of the crushed seeds to a cup of water and let it boil for about ten minutes. Leave it aside to cool down to a temperature where you can comfortably sip on it.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar With Honey:

You can also try and have a cup of warm water and mix in a tbsp. each of honey and apple cider vinegar. Make sure you have only one cup a day.

Heartburn during pregnancy is extremely uncomfortable, but you can surely avoid it by making a few smart changes in your lifestyle and taking care of what you eat and how. Also, before you decide to use Tums as a relief, make sure you also try out the natural remedies after speaking to your doctor.

How did you take care of your pregnancy heartburn? Do share your tips here to help others who are experiencing the same.

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