Heartburn can be common during pregnancy, but one study is now reporting that taking medication to treat acid reflux and heartburn while pregnant may not be as safe as we previously believed. A new study, which was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, recently found that children whose mothers took acid-blocking drugs during pregnancy were at least a third more likely to show symptoms of asthma, a potentially fatal condition.
Although we previously thought drugs to treat these conditions were safe for the development of the baby, the study suggests otherwise. Researchers at the universities of Edinburgh and Tampere in Finland explored eight previous studies, which followed over 1.3 million children and monitored the affect these drugs had on their immune systems.
"We don't yet know if the heartburn medication itself is contributing to the development of asthma in children or if there is a common factor we haven't discovered yet that causes both heartburn in pregnant women and asthma in their children," said Dr. Samantha Walker, director of policy and research at Asthma UK. "The study points us towards something that needs further investigation, which is why we need to see more research carried out into the causes of asthma, a condition that affects 5.4 million people in the UK alone."
This research is still in its very early stages, so experts recommend that expectant moms talk to their doctors about the risks of heartburn drugs if they're concerned, or before making any changes to their routine acid reflux treatment.