Tums is an over-the-counter antacid that is often used to relieve heartburn or indigestion. Even pregnant women take it as a go-to for heartburn, especially during the third trimester. But is it safe to have tums during pregnancy?
Heartburn during pregnancy is fairly common. But it needs to be treated with proper advice from the doctor to avoid any underlying complications (1). Read on to know about the safety of using Tums while pregnant, the necessary precaution to take while having it, and its potential side effects.
What Is Tums?
Tums is an antacid comprising sucrose (sugar) and calcium carbonate. It is the brand name for a specific variety of antacid that is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. The drug is available over-the-counter (OTC) at most retail stores in the US.
Tums is known to provide quick and effective relief from heartburn, indigestion, gas, acid reflux, bloating and stomach upset. The medication is available in the form of chewable tablets, which come in a variety of flavors (2).
Is It Safe To Take Tums When Pregnant?
Yes, Tums is safe for pregnant women, but only when its potential benefits outweigh the possible risks. The US FDA has classified the medicine under category C drugs, which means animal studies have shown adverse effects on the fetus but the drug has not been tested on humans (3).
Side Effects Of Tums During Pregnancy
Unlike a few other medications, Tums is likely to cause specific potential side effects during pregnancy. They are:
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent urge to urinate
You need to be cautious, and keep a few things in mind when taking Tums during pregnancy.
- Avoid taking Tums if you have a history of kidney disorder or parathyroid gland disorder. Tums, which is high in calcium content, might lead to kidney stone formation and imbalance the calcium levels in the body (4).
- Ask your doctor about the right dosage to take to prevent side effects. Do not exceed the required dosage.
- Taking Tums for heartburn can increase your calcium intake, but the medication should not be used as a calcium supplement during pregnancy.
Ideal Dosage Of Tums During Pregnancy
You may take two to four tablets of Tums every two hours to get the needed relief from heartburn (5). However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking any antacid. Also, always maintain a gap of at least two hours between taking an antacid and iron supplements to derive maximum benefits from both the medicines (6).
How Does Tums Help You During Pregnancy?
The doctor might allow you to take the medicine for quick relief from heartburn caused by acidity. Usually, antacids that contain calcium and magnesium are used as the first-line treatment for treating heartburn during pregnancy (7). Since Tums is a good source of calcium, taking them for heartburn will also increase your calcium intake and help you get the ideal amount of the nutrient during pregnancy.
Over usage of the medicine, however, could have adverse effects on you. Next, we address some commonly asked questions about Tums during pregnancy.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I take Eno Tums while pregnant?
Yes, you can use Eno Tums, which is just another brand of the antacid that has similar effects.
2. Besides Tums, what else can I take for heartburn during pregnancy?
You may consider taking other antacids such as Rolaids, Maalox, Pepcid and Mylanta (10). However, check with your healthcare provider before using any of these medications. Besides medication, eating smaller meals, avoiding acidic and spicy foods, drinking lots of water, unsweetened coconut water, and mint tea can also provide relief from heartburn.
3. Can I take Tums and Zofran together?
Yes, Tums and Zofran can be taken together, since there are no studies to show that their interaction is negative. While Tums is for heartburn, Zofran treats nausea and morning sickness.
4. Can I take Tums for nausea while pregnant?
Yes, Tums might help in relieving nausea, which is likely to occur alongside heartburn or an upset stomach.
5. Can too many Tums hurt the baby during pregnancy?
Yes, excessive intake of Tums can increase calcium levels in the body (hypercalcemia), which is known to cause maternal, fetal and neonatal complications. (11)
Tums is a popular OTC antacid. The medication is quick-acting and available in different flavors as chewable tablets. It can help deal with common pregnancy problems, such as heartburn and indigestion. However, there is not enough research done to establish the safety of Tums during pregnancy. The doctor will prescribe it only if the benefits outweigh the risks. Avoid over intake as it may hamper the absorption of the essential vitamins. The best advice is to stay away from spicy and fattening food that would lead to heartburn.
2. TUMS EX– calcium carbonate tablet; U.S. National Library Of Medicine; 2016
3. R. A. Black & D. A. Hill; Over-the-Counter Medications in Pregnancy; AAFP; 2003
4. P. M. Doubilet et al.; Diagnostic Criteria for Nonviable Pregnancy Early in the First Trimester; The New England Journal of Medicine (2013)
5. Medications Safe For Pregnancy; University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System; 2018
6. Taking iron supplements; US National Library of Medicine
7. R Law et al.; Treatment of heartburn and acid reflux associated with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy; Motherisk (2010)
8. Heartburn; St. Clair Health
9. Calcium supplementation during pregnancy to reduce the risk of preeclampsia; WHO; 2018
10. Safe Medications During Pregnancy; Northeast Georgia Physicians Group
11. E Rey et al.; Hypercalcemia in pregnancy – a multifaceted challenge: case reports and literature review; Clin Case Rep. (2016)