Can You Take Alka Seltzer While Pregnant?

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Heidi Woodgate

While pregnancy can be a magical experience, it also comes with its fair share of discomfort. One of the main complaints pregnant women report is heartburn.

can you take alka seltzer while pregnant?

Usually, when you feel the familiar gnawing sensation of heartburn, you might reach for the Alka-Seltzer. But is this safe during pregnancy? Let’s find out.

What Is Alka-Seltzer Used For?

Reducing Stomach Acid

Alka-Seltzer is most commonly used to treat heartburn. Heartburn can be the result of increased stomach acid due to certain foods, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Since 9 out of 10 pregnant women develop GERD by the third trimester, it’s no wonder so many people ask whether they can use Alka-Seltzer while pregnant.

Treating Headaches

Alka-Seltzer is also an effective medication for headaches. Many pregnant women find that they suffer from headaches during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Reducing Aches And Pains

Because Alka-Seltzer contains anti-inflammatory ingredients, it can also be useful for treating generalized aches and pains. Pregnancy can be tough on the body and cause muscle and joint pains.

Being pregnant also reduces the effectiveness of your immune system, so you may be more likely to catch the flu. One of the most common cold and flu symptoms is aches and pains.

Can You Take Alka-Seltzer While Pregnant?

Unfortunately, you should not be taking Alka-Seltzer while pregnant. To understand why, let’s take a look at some of the main ingredients in this common heartburn medication:


The main ingredient that makes Alka-Seltzer unsuitable for pregnant women is Aspirin.

While most of us might not think twice about reaching for this over-the-counter painkiller, Aspirin has been linked to kidney problems in unborn babies when taken after week 20 of pregnancy.

Your doctor may prescribe Aspirin if they suspect you might be at risk of preeclampsia. However, unless it has been prescribed, you should stay away from Aspirin and other NSAIDs once your pregnancy has progressed past 20 weeks.

Citric Acid

There isn’t conclusive evidence to suggest that citric acid is harmful to pregnant people or unborn babies. However, the evidence also isn’t conclusive enough to declare this ingredient safe.

Additionally, because citric acid contains a lot of sodium, you might notice swelling and bloating after taking it, which isn’t ideal during pregnancy.

Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate is found on the ingredients list for Alka-Seltzer. While studies haven’t reached any firm conclusions, it’s suspected that sodium bicarbonate could be harmful to fetuses.

In some cases, medications containing sodium bicarbonate may be so beneficial to a pregnant mother that they outweigh the potential risks.

However, unless that’s the conclusion your doctor has come to, we don’t recommend taking medication with sodium bicarbonate in the ingredients, including Alka-Seltzer.

Calcium Carbonate

Another ingredient that has been flagged as a potential concern is calcium carbonate. However, current studies suggest that calcium carbonate does not increase the risk of birth defects.

With that being said, the other ingredients in Alka-Seltzer and their potential risks mean that even though calcium carbonate should not harm you or your baby, you should still avoid the medication while pregnant.

Pregnancy-Safe Alternatives To Alka-Seltzer

can you take alka seltzer while pregnant?

Not being able to take Alka-Seltzer when pregnant can be stressful if you’re dealing with symptoms like heartburn, headaches, and other aches and pains.

However, luckily, there are other heartburn medications you can take during your pregnancy. These include:

TUMS Antacids

TUMS antacids don’t contain the potentially harmful ingredients found in Alka-Seltzer. They do contain calcium carbonate, but this is not considered to be dangerous during pregnancy.


Pepcid acid reducer does not contain any ingredients thought to be unsafe during pregnancy, including the first, second, and third trimesters.

Because Pepcid can also help to reduce vomiting and nausea, it’s a great choice if you’re also dealing with morning sickness.

Preventative Measures

You can reduce the likelihood of heartburn by eating smaller meals and avoiding trigger foods like caffeine and alcohol (which are not recommended during pregnancy), as well as dairy and citrus fruits.

Are There Any Over-the-Counter Medications Safe for Pregnant Women to Take?

Pregnant women should exercise caution when it comes to taking over-the-counter medications to ensure the safety of both themselves and their unborn baby. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any medication, including considering taking emergen-c during pregnancy. While certain over-the-counter medications may be safe, it is essential to seek professional advice to make informed decisions about prenatal care.

Final Thoughts

If you are experiencing heartburn, headaches, or other kinds of pain during pregnancy, don’t be tempted to reach for the Alka-Seltzer.

The Aspirin in Alka-Seltzer has been linked to fetal kidney issues, while the sodium bicarbonate and citric acid have not yet been confirmed safe during pregnancy by the FDA.

However, there are other heartburn medicine options that are considered safe for pregnant people, such as TUMS and Pepcid.

Always speak to your doctor or medical team before taking any medicines or implementing new treatment options for any pregnancy-related symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Alka-Seltzer Plus Safe During Pregnancy?

No, Alka-Seltzer Plus still contains Aspirin, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid, which means it presents the same risk as regular Alka-Seltzer.

The main difference between Alka-Seltzer and Alka-Seltzer Plus is that the latter also treats flu symptoms like fever.

If you have flu symptoms during pregnancy, speak to your doctor for a checkup and safe treatment recommendations.

Is Alka-Seltzer Safe While Breastfeeding?

Alka-Seltzer is generally thought to be safe to take while breastfeeding. So, if you need to prevent heartburn after giving birth, you can safely use Alka-Seltzer.

However, it’s best to consult your doctor before taking any medication while breastfeeding.

I’m Pregnant and Took Alka-Seltzer, What Should I Do?

If you’ve taken Alka-Seltzer because you didn’t know about the risks, try not to panic. The best thing to do is call your doctor as soon as you can and arrange an appointment.

Your doctor will be able to perform exams and run some tests to assess the risk and go from there.

When Should I Be Worried About Heartburn During Pregnancy?

Heartburn is a very common pregnancy symptom because your uterus is getting larger and your hormone levels are changing. So, if you find you’re having heartburn more often, it’s probably nothing to worry about.

With that being said, if your heartburn doesn’t go away with pregnancy-safe treatments, or is accompanied by chest pains or weight loss, you should seek medical attention straight away to make sure nothing is seriously wrong.

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