Pregnant and Took Pepto Bismol: What to Do + Safe Alternatives

Pregnancy is a time of great physical and emotional change, and many women experience a range of discomforts. One of these discomforts may include nausea or upset stomach. While these symptoms are all part of the normal process of pregnancy, it can still be an unpleasant experience. When faced with these symptoms, some women may be tempted to reach for over-the-counter medications, such as Pepto-Bismol, for relief. But can you take Pepto Bismol when pregnant? In this blog post, we’ll explore the potential risks and benefits of taking Pepto Bismol while pregnant, so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you. We’ll discuss the side effects, warnings, and other considerations to keep in mind. So if you’re wondering if it is safe to take Pepto Bismol when pregnant, read on to find out more.

Why Pepto-Bismol Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy

The biggest problem with taking Pepto-Bismol during pregnancy, according to MedicalNewsToday is that there is not enough information known about the medication to be able to state with certainty that it is safe to take. As such, doctors recommend against taking it while expecting.

Pepto-Bismol, like aspirin, per the publication, is a salicylate. This class of drugs is known to lessen bodily inflammation, which explains why Pepto-Bismol is so successful at treating heartburn.

However, according to MedicalNewsToday, one of the negative effects of salicylates is that they can result in internal bleeding. And as the due date for babies approaches, doctors would rather err on the side of caution and avoid administering any medication because giving birth involves bleeding.

To treat heartburn and acid reflux now that Pepto-Bismol is no longer an option, secure substitutes must be found.

According to Healthline, some of those alternatives include:

  • Tagamet
  • Pepcid
  • Axid
  • Prilosec
  • These antacids can be used safely during pregnancy in generic form as well. However, it is best to consult a healthcare provider before beginning any new medications to see if there is one that is best based on the timing of when it is taken during pregnancy and for any underlying conditions that may exist.

    Pepto-Bismol is generally safe for use during pregnancy, but there is little evidence that it has any unfavorable side effects.

    It is usually safe to use when not pregnant. However, many drugs are dangerous during pregnancy because they can cross the placenta.

    People should see a doctor if diarrhea lasts longer than a few days to discuss potential prescription medications and treatments.

    Due to the salicylate nature of Pepto-Bismol, which is similar to aspirin, it may not be safe to take while pregnant. This class of drugs has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to have bleeding-related side effects.

    According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it may be better to avoid Pepto-Bismol when breastfeeding, as it is possible that breast milk can absorb salicylate.

    I Took Pepto Bismol During Pregnancy: What Should I Do?

    Many people seek relief from heartburn and stomach discomfort from Pepto Bismol or other brands of the drug known as bismuth subsalicylate, which is bubblegum pink and soothing to the stomach.

    Both of these conditions are extremely prevalent during pregnancy, making Pepto Bismol the obvious choice to treat symptoms.

    The information that Pepto Bismol is not recommended during pregnancy shocks many women. The FDA advises against using bismuth subsalicylate because it can increase the risk of bleeding, especially after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

    Increased risk of bleeding becomes a bigger safety concern as your due date approaches since excess bleeding can lead to complications during delivery (source: American Family Physician).

    Hearing this advice can undoubtedly be frightening, especially if you used the medication while pregnant. There is probably no immediate cause for alarm if you took Pepto Bismol before you realized you were pregnant or once (or more frequently) before realizing it is not recommended.

    While it is advisable to avoid bismuth subsalicylate during pregnancy, you should be aware that none of its ingredients are specifically harmful to you or your developing child.

    Rather, one of the compounds, subsalicylate, is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). NSAIDs increase the risk of bleeding, which is why they are best to avoid as your delivery date nears (source: American Family Physician).

    The first (and arguably hardest) thing to remember to do after taking Pepto Bismol is not to freak out. Using Pepto Bismol during pregnancy is not necessarily going to result in complications, just like using other substances that are not advised. It’s likely that both you and your child will live long, healthy lives.

    Have a conversation with your doctor if you regularly take Pepto Bismol, especially if your pregnancy is about to end. To determine how much of the medication is in your body, they might want to monitor you a little more closely during delivery and/or perform some bloodwork.

    Additionally, Pepto Bismol is promoted as an over-the-counter remedy for diarrhea. The best course of action if you have diarrhea is to contact your doctor. The common symptom of other conditions, such as a foodborne illness, is diarrhea. Diarrhea that is not treated can lead to dehydration.


    What can I take for upset stomach while pregnant?

    Over-the-Counter Medications Safe to Take During Pregnancy
    • Antacids (Tums, Rolaids, Mylanta, Maalox, Pepcid, Prevacid)
    • Simethicone (Gas-X, Mylicon for gas pain, Gaviscon)
    • Immodium or BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast or tea) for diarrhea.

    What if I accidentally took Pepto-Bismol while pregnant?

    There is little evidence that Pepto-Bismol causes harmful side effects during pregnancy, though there is little research to say that it is safe either. The main concern around taking any medication during pregnancy is the absence of research on safety.

    What category is Pepto-Bismol in pregnancy?

    OTC Antidiarrheal Medications in Pregnancy
    Drug name FDA pregnancy risk classification by trimester (1st/2nd/3rd) Drug class
    Kaolin and pectin (Kaopectate) B/B/B Antidiarrheal
    Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol) C/C/D Antidiarrheal
    Loperamide (Imodium) B/B/B Antidiarrheal
    Atropine/diphenoxylate (Lomotil) C/C/C Antidiarrheal

    Over the Counter Drugs While Pregnant (Pregnancy Health Guru)

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