Can I Take TUMS While Pregnant?

TUMS antacids are safe during pregnancy for most people, but don't overdo it

pregnany woman with glass of water and medicine

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Growing a baby is magical, but not always comfortable. For many parents-to-be, the physical symptoms of heartburn, such as stomach upset and indigestion, can truly dampen the pregnancy experience. Whether these symptoms are persistent or intermittent, they often have parents seeking relief and wondering if they can take TUMS while pregnant.

TUMS is a common over-the-counter treatment for heartburn. The good news is, TUMS is considered a safe treatment option for symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in pregnancy.

We reached out to pregnancy experts to learn more about safe usage, as well as suggested precautions, for TUMS as a treatment for those pesky heartburn symptoms.

What Is TUMS?

TUMS is an over-the-counter antacid with the main ingredient calcium carbonate. It is used to relieve symptoms of heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux. Shannon M. Clark, MD, a professor in maternal-fetal medicine in Galveston, TX, says that most pregnant people will experience some symptoms of GERD, because pregnancy-related hormones slow down gastrointestinal transit time.

Hormones are not the only culprit, though. "As the uterus grows, pressure is placed on the stomach and gastroesophageal junction, allowing gastric acid and food contents to enter the esophagus," says Dr. Clark. TUMS help to neutralize and prevent refluxed gastric acid from making its way to the esophagus.

Every pregnancy is different. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider about your circumstances if you have any questions about taking TUMS while pregnant.

Is It Safe to Take TUMS During Pregnancy?

"It is safe to reach for TUMS at any point when there is discomfort from indigestion, acid reflux, heartburn, or in cases of stomach ulcer flare-up," says Rami Khatib, RPh, CDE, manager and owner of Sechelt Pharmacy in British Columbia, Canada. While GERD is most common later in pregnancy, antacids are safe in the first trimester too.

Khatib notes two possible side effects of using TUMS while pregnant, constipation and flatulence, which often come with the pregnancy territory already.

Taking TUMS to relieve symptoms of GERD while pregnant is generally safe and effective. But Clark does caution those who have known kidney disease to discuss with a healthcare provider before taking TUMS. Antacids can disrupt the body's electrolyte balance if you have chronic kidney disease.

Safety Precautions

It is still a good idea to keep some precautions in mind when taking TUMS. Taking OTC medications safely helps relieve symptoms and and keep your growing baby safe.

Choose Calcium Carbonate

Clark recommends selecting a calcium carbonate-based antacid (such as TUMS) and avoiding antacids containing sodium bicarbonate and magnesium trisilicate, as well as those with aspirin.

"The daily recommended intake of calcium during pregnancy is upward of 1,200mg of elemental calcium from all sources," Khatib says. But do be careful with your calcium intake. You do not want to take in more than 2,500mg of calcium each day.

Ingesting too much calcium can cause constipation, kidney stones, trouble absorbing minerals such as iron and zinc, irregular heartbeat, and low calcium in the baby's body.

Watch Your Iron Levels

Follow your healthcare provider's guidelines on taking both iron and calcium. "Do not take TUMS at the same time as an iron supplement, as it can interfere with the absorption of iron or make your symptoms temporarily worse," Dr. Clark says.

Don't Treat TUMS Like Candy

As with most things, moderation is key. The manufacturer advises pregnant people to limit themselves to a maximum of 15 TUMS Regular Strength 500 within any 24-hour period. The maximums differ from product to product, so be sure to read the bottle carefully and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Dr. Clark suggests keeping an eye on intake and symptoms. "If you find you are using TUMS daily or they do not relieve your symptoms, be sure to let your obstetrical care provider know."

If TUMS aren't working to relieve your symptoms after a while, don't fret. "It may be time to consider alternative therapy for your symptoms of GERD, like a prescription medication," says Dr. Clark.

Pregnancy-Safe Alternatives

Antacids, such as TUMS, may offer relief, but they do not prevent GERD, says Dr. Clark. If you are interested in targeting the source of your heartburn holistically, Michelle Durkin, ND, owner of Quinte Naturopathic Centre in Belleville, Ontario, offers some suggestions.

Adjust Your Diet

It is worth giving some thought to foods that trigger symptoms. Dr. Durkin suggests a few common heartburn-inducing culprits that you may want to cut out or limit, such as fried or fatty foods, caffeine, chocolate, soda, garlic, onions, sugary foods, tomatoes, citrus, dairy, or even gluten.

Dr. Durkin also suggests eating smaller, more frequent meals, sitting up while eating, and avoiding laying down directly after eating.

Try Visceral Manipulation

Dr. Durkin suggests finding a qualified practitioner, most commonly an osteopath, who can assess if your gastroesophageal sphincter needs to be treated. The pyloric sphincter is the valve at the top of your stomach that can get pushed open as the baby gets bigger, or be relaxed open with higher levels of progesterone in pregnancy.

Consult with a healthcare provider before seeking visceral manipulation, particularly during pregnancy. Always provide them with a complete health history and seek out a reputable practitioner before receiving any treatments.

A Word From Verywell

Heartburn can certainly make pregnancy less pleasant, but if TUMS works for you, feel secure in the knowledge that it's a safe treatment option. If TUMS aren't working for you, be sure to talk with a healthcare provider so you can find some relief.

10 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Shannon Day
Shannon Day is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, lifestyle, and women's humor. She has been published in several online parenting and lifestyle sites as well as in print. Shannon is also the co-author of Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe & WTF?!