Heartburn pills during pregnancy could lead to childhood asthma

By Rebecca Burton • Published: April 12th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Intense heartburn prompted by progesterone, a hormone that relaxes muscles during pregnancy, can be a menacing condition for expectant mothers. Sometimes, the heartburn can lead to acid reflux and heartburn medication is often prescribed as a way to curb the pain and symptoms. When an expectant mother takes medications, there is always a chance it will affect the baby in some way.

A new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that women who took medication to treat heartburn and acid reflux during pregnancy were more likely to have children who would eventually be treated for childhood asthma. Heartburn is caused by stomach acid passing from the stomach back into the esophagus, the tube that connects the stomach to the throat. The condition is very common in pregnancy because of hormonal changes and pressure on the stomach from the growing womb.

To conduct the study, the researchers reviewed records of more than 1.3 million children. Results showed that children born to mothers who were prescribed these medications were almost one-third more likely to be treated for asthma.

The researchers warn that this potential link was noticed by reviewing health records, and is not conclusive. Further research is needed to determine whether these medications do in fact affect the health of the children.

The team says that based on this new study, mothers shouldn’t refrain from taking these medications if prescribed by a doctor. However, further studies should shed light on whether there is a link between heartburn medication and asthma or if there is another factor that has not been examined yet.