A recent study has drawn a connection between expectant mothers’ use of antacids and an increased incidence of asthma in their children — but don’t throw out your heartburn meds just yet.
For the study, researchers from Edinburgh and Finland analysed the health records of more than 1.3 million children, along with prescription databases.
Their findings revealed that children whose mums took antacids during pregnancy were approximately one third more likely to have exhibited asthma symptoms – at least as far as reporting to the doctor went.
However, if you’re currently preggers and treating digestive troubles with over-the-counter or prescription medication, don’t panic; the study’s authors emphasise that the exact nature of the relationship is unclear -correlation does not equal causation.
In fact, some experts believe two other precursory factors may have a part to play in linking antacids and asthma; firstly —
“The majority of studies [examined] did not control for obesity in pregnancy – a third factor which is linked both to worse heartburn (and a need to take antacids) and to risk of asthma in the offspring,” explains Queen Mary University of London Professor Seif Shaheen.
“It may be that the heartburn itself may be the most important association rather than the drugs used to treat it,” University of Bristol’s Professor Jean Golding says.
In short, more research is needed before we should abandon or alter how we deal with a tricksy tum during pregnancy.
“Advice to pregnant women does not need to change on the back of these latest data, which should be interpreted with caution. For now we should assume that the link is not causal and pregnant women should be reassured,” Professor Shaheen says.
If you’re still concerned, get the GP go-ahead for antacids, and get some relief (for at least one uncomfortable part of pregnancy).