Upset stomach and diarrhea are common when a person is pregnant or is breastfeeding an infant, however, in that condition, taking pepto-bismol to reduce the symptoms of diarrhea or upset stomach becomes a point of concern as all of that may transfer to the child.
Pepto-bismol is a medicine available over the counter and is commonly used for the purpose of reducing the symptoms of heartburn, diarrhea, and upset stomach. The medicine is unsafe for consumption during pregnancy as it may cross through the placenta and onto the unborn child.
Pepto-bismol also contains the compound named as bismuth subsalicylate. This compound is used for the treatment of several symptoms. Firstly, it reduces the inflammation of the stomach and relieves symptoms of an upset stomach due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Secondly, stomach functions are slowed down, effectively reducing the painful cramps a person suffers during diarrhea. And then lastly, consumption of this medicine reduces stomach acid, helping relieve symptoms of heartburn. It also coats the lining of the throat, causing a reduction in heartburn.
Although its various positive effects on relieving the symptoms of diarrhea or upset stomach are truly beneficial, there are doubts about the safety of this medicine when consumed by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
There is also little research on the safety of the consumption of this medicine for woman who are pregnant because of ethical issues involved in conducting such a research.
However, like aspirin, the compound subsalicylate may not be safe to consume during pregnancy because it is anti-inflammatory in nature and there are reports available on its impact in causing bleeding. Because of this reason, the use of this medicine is not recommended by many doctors especially during third trimester of pregnancy to reduce the risk of bleeding during the delivery of a baby.
Salicylates is a known compound which has been linked to the causation of birth abnormalities especially during fetal development during pregnancy. Women who take this compound for a longer period of time also develop a risk of having a baby with heart abnormalities, which may also be caused during the fetal development stages.
No abnormalities have been directly linked with the use of pepto-bismol, however, aspirin and related drugs containing the compound salicylate, when consumed for a long period of time, have resulted birth abnormalities, raising concerns about the safety of pepto-bismol as well.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding sessions, heartburn, diarrhea and an upset stomach sometimes become part of everyday routine. Leaving these symptoms untreated is not recommended because the stomach may become programmed to digest food without proper absorption of nutrition.
This consequentially impacts the health of both the mother and the baby. There are many alternative drugs to replace pepto-bismol which doctors may recommend as safer for consumption for a breastfeeding or pregnant woman.
These may include acid reducers, mint flavored antacid suspensions or omeprazole. However, these should only be consumed when recommended by a doctor and should not exceed the prescribed dosage amount.
Another alternative to pepto-bismol is the adoption of healthy lifestyle. No medication can provide lasting benefits unless changes in lifestyle are made. A healthy lifestyle can reduce the symptoms of a routine heartburn and an upset stomach. Following simple changes in daily routine can help in relieving these symptoms:
- Instead of eating large meals three times a day, a person should consume 5-6 small meals throughout the day. In this way, the stomach is able to relieve the stress caused by consumption of heavy meals at one single time. Stomach fluids and acids released through a day are able to digest small meals and nutrients are absorbed in better routine.
- Last meal of the day, such as dinner, shall be consumed at least 3 to 4 hours before going to bed. Consuming meals an hour before going to bed are not digested properly in the stomach and may cause diarrhea or bloated stomach in the morning.
- Foods which may cause an upset stomach to become worse must be avoided. Deep fried foods, sugar treated foods, spicy foods and carbonated and caffeinated drinks all make to this list.
- Heartburn can be reduced naturally by elevating the pillow. This reduces the acid reflux caused after consuming the meals and reduces heartburn.
- Natural foods which help in reducing heartburn symptoms should be consumed on a daily basis. Mint leaves and ginger are excellent sources of relieving stomach pain due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
These are a few remedies which may be adopted to reduce the symptoms of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, it is always better to consult a doctor immediately if the condition is persistent and ongoing without relief.