Share This Post


Antacids in pregnancy tied to childhood asthma


Claudia Boyd-Barrett

posted in Pregnancy

Taking certain antacids during pregnancy could increase the risk of your baby developing asthma, a new study suggests.

Heartburn and indigestion are common during pregnancy, and some women take over-the-counter antacids or are prescribed antacids by their doctor. The recent study, published in the journal Pediatrics, examined the impact of two types of antacids: proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Prilosec and Prevacid, and histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) such as Pepcid and Zantac.

Researchers pooled data from 8 other studies involving more than 1.6 million women in Europe and Israel. They concluded that women taking PPIs during pregnancy had a 34 percent increased risk of having children who developed asthma than women who didn’t take these drugs.

Women who took H2RAs during pregnancy had an even higher risk: they were 57 percent more likely than women who didn’t take the drugs to have a child who developed asthma, the researchers concluded.


The researchers controlled for factors that could influence asthma risk in children, such as a family history of asthma, the mother’s age, and whether she smoked.

Nevertheless, the studies the researchers reviewed weren’t perfect. They relied on government health and prescription records and couldn’t control for every factor that might have influenced children’s asthma risk. What’s more, the research doesn’t prove that antacids cause asthma. It could be, for example, that indigestion and heartburn in pregnancy – not the drugs themselves – increase the risk of childhood asthma, an accompanying editorial pointed out.

The authors said more clinical studies are needed to confirm the findings and it’s too early to recommend restricting the use of antacids among pregnant women. However, they suggested parents and healthcare providers use caution when deciding whether to take acid-suppressing drugs during pregnancy.

In an email to Reuters, lead author Dr. Huahao Shen proposed women use other medications for heartburn and indigestion including Pepto Bismol, domperidone (Motilium) and hydrotalcite.

Have you suffered heartburn and/or indigestion during pregnancy? Did you take medication to treat it?

Share This Post