Pregnancy is a wonderful, yet tricky journey for mothers-to-be. It’s a time when there are numerous hormonal and physical changes happening inside the body. As a result, pregnant women may experience heartburn or acid reflux, which can lead to discomfort and pain. To alleviate these symptoms, many doctors prescribe Gaviscon as a safe and effective medication for pregnant women. However, you may still wonder whether it’s safe to use Gaviscon during pregnancy. This blog post explains how Gaviscon works and it’s safety during pregnancy.
What is Gaviscon?
Gaviscon is an antacid, used to treat heartburn (acid reflux) and indigestion. It belongs to a group of medicines called ‘reflux suppressants’. It is available over the counter (OTC) without a prescription in many countries, including the UK and the US.
This medication contains three key ingredients: sodium alginate, calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. But how does Gaviscon work to relieve your symptoms? Well, the sodium alginate forms a gel-like substance that floats on top of your stomach contents, creating a physical barrier to prevent acid from flowing back up into your oesophagus. Meanwhile, the calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate work together to neutralise any existing acid, providing further relief.
What are the symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy?
Pregnancy is accompanied by a range of discomforts, one of which is heartburn. Heartburn is the sensation of burning in the chest that can be felt after eating, or during the night. Symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy can vary from person to person, but some of the most common ones include:
- A burning sensation in the throat or chest
- A sour taste in the mouth
- Occasional regurgitation of food
- A general feeling of discomfort
These symptoms are caused by the relaxation of the muscles that prevent stomach acid from leaking into the oesophagus. Although heartburn can be unpleasant, there are ways to manage it during pregnancy, such as eating smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding fatty foods or spicy foods, and sitting upright after eating.
Can pregnant women take Gaviscon?
Many doctors recommend Gaviscon during pregnancy because it’s safe and effective. Gaviscon does not get absorbed in the bloodstream, so it doesn’t affect the developing fetus. Moreover, it does not interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food, which is essential for the baby’s growth and development. Gaviscon is safe to take throughout pregnancy, from the first trimester onwards. Typically symptoms start mild in the first trimester and persist into the second and then become more frequent and more severe in the third trimester.
Gaviscon has some unique benefits that make it an excellent choice during pregnancy. For instance, Gaviscon is fast-acting and provides relief within minutes. It’s also available in many forms, such as chewable tablets, liquid and sachets, making it easy to take on the go. Additionally, Gaviscon Advance is designed to act locally in the stomach. It has the lowest sodium content of any product in the Gaviscon range making it the best formulation for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Although Gaviscon is safe during pregnancy, you should still follow some precautions when using it. First, you should avoid overdosing on Gaviscon, as it can lead to adverse effects such as constipation, which is already a common problem during pregnancy. Second, you should always consult with your doctor before taking Gaviscon or any other medication during pregnancy. Your doctor can advise you on the correct dosage and frequency of Gaviscon usage to suit your specific needs.
A study published in the Obstetric Medicine journal found that Gaviscon usage did not increase the risk of adverse outcomes during pregnancy. However, it is important to note that no medication is completely safe during pregnancy, and it is always best to speak to your healthcare provider before taking any medication while pregnant.
How fast does Gaviscon work?
Gaviscon medication is designed to quickly neutralise excess stomach acid, providing near-instant relief from uncomfortable symptoms like burning sensations and chest pain. So, just how fast does Gaviscon work? Well, according to the manufacturer, many people experience relief within just a few minutes of taking the medication and effects can last for around 4 hours. Of course, results can vary from person to person, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy solution to your acid reflux symptoms, Gaviscon is worth considering.
What are the side effects of Gaviscon?
Although generally well-tolerated, some patients may experience side effects. These include constipation, nausea, and abdominal discomfort. In some cases, patients may also experience allergic reactions such as hives or difficulty breathing. However, it is important to note that these side effects are rare and most people can use Gaviscon without any problems. If you experience any unusual symptoms, it’s always best to speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
What else can you do to alleviate symptoms?
While Gaviscon is safe to use during pregnancy, it is always best to try and alleviate symptoms through lifestyle changes first. Try eating smaller meals, avoiding trigger foods, and avoiding lying down immediately after eating. If you find that your symptoms persist, speak to your healthcare provider about whether Gaviscon or another medication is safe and suitable for you.
Speak to a healthcare professional if you are unsure
Gaviscon is a safe and effective medication for pregnant women who experience heartburn or acid reflux. It’s fast-acting, available in many forms and free from harmful substances, making it ideal for expectant mothers. According to the NHS, Gaviscon is not known to cause any problems during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
However, Gaviscon can interact with certain medications, including antibiotics, iron supplements, and heart medications. It is important to always consult with your doctor or pharmacist for medical advice before taking any medication during pregnancy, including Gaviscon. If Gavison does not work then your GP may prescribe or recommend proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole or esomeprazole.
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The information provided here about medications is subject to change and is not meant to include all uses, precautions, warnings, directions, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or negative effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a particular medication does not imply that the medication or medication combination is appropriate for all patients or for all possible purposes.
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