TUMS brand indigestion and acid reflux treatment has an FDA Pregnancy “Category C” classification. The over-the-counter tablet medicine is generally safe for pregnant women when following recommended dosages. The “C” categorization is derived from two main factors. The medicine does cross the placenta but it has never been officially tested on humans. Therefore, there is no conclusive research from an official study to scientifically prove there are no adverse effects. The animals involved in studies experienced no such effects. To offer some perspective on the FDA Pregnancy classification system, here are the first three category levels:
- “Category A” drugs are the results of studies which yield no risk to the fetus throughout pregnancy.
- “Category B” drugs are tested on animals with outcomes that demonstrate no risk to the fetus but lack testing on humans.
- “Category C” drugs result from animal reproduction studies that do reflect adverse fetal effects while also never being tested on humans.
Despite the FDA Pregnancy “Category C” Classification, the benefits of TUMS during pregnancy outweigh the possible risks involved when dosage is followed properly. It is always best to consult with your doctor prior to treatment.
Heartburn symptoms common in pregnant women
Expecting mothers may have never experienced indigestion or heartburn symptoms before becoming pregnant, yet 70 to 80% of pregnant women eventually do experience these symptoms. This is due to a hormone called progesterone created by the placenta, which relaxes certain uterus muscles that otherwise work to separate the esophagus from the stomach. Gastric acids are eventually freed to work upward causing the heartburn symptoms and discomfort.
Benefits of TUMS
TUMS, most effective when taken before eating, not only deliver safe heartburn relief to pregnant women but also supplement expecting moms with much needed calcium. While pregnant, you and your baby require 1,000 mg of elemental calcium per day, minimally, and many expecting mothers are actually deficient in calcium. Calcium carbonate is the main ingredient in TUMS and can be a useful addition to a diet lacking calcium. Seven tablets are the advised maximum in a 24 hour period, but dosage quantity should be discussed with your doctor before using.
Mixing medications or supplements
It is worth noting that another important supplement pregnant women might be taking is iron, which should always be taken at least two hours before or after an antacid. Inform your doctor of any other medications or supplements you might be taking while using TUMS to avoid any unforeseen complications.
The greatest concern regarding the use of TUMS is the overuse of antacid and heartburn medicine. TUMS are widely used by pregnant women and recommended by doctors, but only under the condition that they are used responsibly and minimally. Due to the absence of testing on calcium carbonate with pregnant women it is unknown what risks or threats could be posed when used in excess. As with most things, particularly medication, moderation is key.
Alternatives to TUMS
If TUMS during pregnancy is not an option, a more natural approach to coping with indigestion and acid reflux while pregnant might be:
- Cutting back on foods or beverages that are unique to your discomfort will stop symptoms before they begin. Caffeine, mint, tomatoes, and spicy foods induce heartburn most and should be consumed minimally.
- Rather than eating big meals far apart, snack on smaller meals closer together.
- The same goes with fluids; drink smaller volumes more frequently.
- It is best to eat at least a few hours before bed and never just before. Do not lie down immediately after eating, either.
- Chewing gum after a meal is helpful, as well, because saliva helps to neutralize acid.