Pregnant women beware. An analysis of eight scientific studies has revealed a link between heartburn medication and childhood asthma.
The studies included more than 1.6 million people and found that pregnant women who took H2 blockers, such as Tagamet, were 46 percent more likely to give birth to a child with asthma. Pregnant women who took proton pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec, were 30 percent more likely to have a child with asthma.
So far, researchers remain unsure of what causes this increase in childhood asthma. One theory is that heartburn medications interfere with the digestive process, sending more allergens to the growing fetus. Further testing is needed to determine a concrete link.
Since more than half of women who are pregnant suffer from heartburn at some point in their pregnancy, this is a serious concern. To be on the safe side, pregnant women should focus on preventing heartburn before it starts as well as on using natural methods of controlling it.
Eating frequent small meals and avoiding spicy and rich food may help. Avoid wearing too tight clothing that puts pressure on the abdomen. Be sure not to lie down immediately after eating. When you do lie down, keep your head elevated.
If it’s too late to prevent heartburn, chewing sugar-free gum could help to alleviate the symptoms.
Pregnant women with heartburn should consult their doctors if they’re concerned or can’t find relief. Some over-the-counter medications are safer than others. A doctor might also elect to prescribe a safe treatment option.