Antacids In Pregnancy Boost Asthma Risk

12.17.08 Study links heartburn meds to higher cases of childhood asthma, allergies


Conventional wisdom says to make friends with Tums when you're expecting. The chalky tablets won't harm your baby and work wonders on the burning in your throat and chest.

However, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston found that children of mothers who took this heartburn reliever and other acid-blocking drugs during pregnancy were 43 percent more likely to suffer from asthma compared to children not exposed in utero, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The study, which tracked 585,000 children born in Sweden, discovered that 1 percent of those studied had been exposed to acid suppression drugs and more than 5 percent of them had been diagnosed as allergic or asthmatic. The increased asthma risk was highest among moms with no allergy history who took antacids during pregnancy, the L.A. Times reports.

However, it's a bit hard to stay away from such medications when experts say about 85 percent of pregnant women have heartburn. The study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy (online preview only; full release is expected in January) is not suggesting that moms-to-be avoid antacids. Pregnant women suffering from heartburn or acid reflux should consult their doctors first to discuss the pros and cons of such medications and make an informed decision.

If you're feeling the heat, you might want to consider our five strategies to put out the fire of pregnancy-induced heartburn. And don't forget the old wives' tale: Pregnant women who suffer from heartburn deliver newborns with full heads of hair.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor. She was born with a full head of hair.