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Heartburn Medications

My doctor has prescribed Zantac for my heartburn, which has been excruciating during my pregnancy. Is this safe for me to take?

Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: If you are uncertain about something your doctor recommends, be sure to ask for clarification and make sure you understand the risks and benefits, but don’t be afraid to take medication if that’s what your doctor recommends. My worst pregnancy symptom from month two to delivery was horrible heartburn. I’m prone to it anyway, and pregnancy made it worse.

I didn’t gain much weight during the last  trimester of my pregnancy because if I ate anything after noon I couldn’t lie down at night. During my first pregnancy, all I could do is take over-the-counter liquid antacids. I took so much of it, I bought three bottles at a time at Target. My husband remembers me shaking the bottle at 3 am many nights. But during my second pregnancy a few years later, you could take ranitidine (generic Zantac). When I hesitated, my doctor asked, “Don’t you remember how  miserable you were last time?  It’s safe for your baby ” So I took it, and it helped a lot.

Sharonne N. Hayes, MD, director of the Women’s Heart Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and a mother of a daughter in college and a son in  high school.

Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: I’m a pretty small person, which means there’s less room for the baby. Certainly if you’re 5’10”, there’s more room for your baby than if you’re 5’3”.

For part of my pregnancy, I had very bad heartburn. I found it very hard to eat at night. My strategy was I would try not to eat at all past 4 o’clock.

Finally, my doctor convinced me to start taking Zantac. I was worried about taking it because there hadn’t been a lot of research conducted on it in pregnant women. But my heartburn got to the point that I was so miserable that I ended up taking it.

I was so glad that I did because I felt so much better after that. All of the discomfort went away. I was scared to take it, but it made a huge difference in how I felt.

Barbara Goff, MD, a mom of two and professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of gynecologic oncology at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle

The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.