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Should Pregnant Women Avoid Zantac

June 10, 2024

Indigestion, or acidity during pregnancy, is not unheard of. Many pregnant women suffer from heartburn, indigestion, loss of appetite, and a burning sensation in their throat caused by the stomach acids that come up through the esophagus. So, what can an expecting mother do? Reach for medicines that she usually does when she experiences indigestion or heartburn. Is it safe for her and the baby? If Zantac is your go-to tablet for such issues, read on until the end of this post.

Book an online appointment with Dr. Naseem Pervin for Pregnancy & Gynecology related issues.

What is Zantac?

Zantac is a very commonly used drug to prevent or treat stomach ulcers or acidity. It belongs to a group of drugs called Histamine-2 blockers, which work by reducing the acids the stomach produces. Zantac is also a common medication used in the treatment of GERD.

Zantac is now known as Ranitidine.

Why Do Pregnant Women Experience Heartburns?

Next, let’s understand why pregnant women specifically experience frequent heartburns or acidity.

The stomach has a valve at its entrance responsible for keeping all the eaten food and stomach acids. When you eat a full meal and burp, these stomach acids and food items remain in the stomach due to this valve.

During pregnancy, certain hormones surge, causing this particular stomach valve to relax and loosen. As a result, stomach acids can come back up the esophagus soon after you eat a meal or when you burp. This is when you feel a burning sensation in your throat. No amount of water may seem to ease that burning sensation. It will take time to subside, and you may experience this multiple times a day.

How to Treat Heartburns in Pregnancy?

A pregnant woman cannot refrain from eating or go on some liquid diet to help control this condition. She has to eat more than usual, and there is not much she can do about the hormonal surge. She can opt for natural or home remedies to improve her digestion or take simple over-the-counter medications to help control the acidity.

Why Should Pregnant Women Avoid Zantac?

Zantac was an easily available medication that both pregnant and non-pregnant people used to help control acidity. However, sometime around September 2019, the FDA announced that Ranitidine, previously known as Zantac, contained traces of N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA – a cancer-causing contaminant.

Zantac, more commonly known as Ranitidine, has existed for many decades. Many pregnant women have consumed them for their acidity and heartburns during pregnancy without suffering any serious side effects. One should also note that these particular research details were not available back then either. Now that the FDA has tested the medicine and has found traces of this cancer-causing ingredient, doctors prefer not to prescribe Ranitidine for pregnant women.

Pregnancy is not a time to take any risks whatsoever. Even if you are confident about Zantac or Ranitidine, you cannot neglect the warning given by the FDA. There is not enough research to suggest how long this particular drug can take to start showing effects on the baby or the mother. There is no sufficient data to suggest how much is the safe limit for consuming Ranitidine or Zantac during pregnancy either.

Alternative Remedies for Pregnancy-Related Acidity.

So, what can pregnant women suffering from severe GERD or heartburn do? They can opt for one of the other easily available acid blockers instead. Pregnant women furring from heartburn can try the following alternatives:

  1. A change in your diet to avoid or reduce the consumption of foods that cause acidity or heartburn. (Fatty foods, spicy or acidic foods)
  2. Staying upright for a good two hours after a meal is important. It can be very tempting to lie down after eating a meal, but resisting this temptation can help.
  3. A cup of yogurt can provide probiotics and soothe heartburn.
  4. Opting for nuts for snacking instead of spicy junk foods.
  5. Chewing gum can help keep the stomach acids in control. Opt for sugar-free gum if you are concerned about gestational diabetes or want to reduce sugar consumption.
  6. Adding ginger to your regular diet can help improve digestion.
  7. In some cases, fruits such as apples, pears, or even pineapples can help. A common belief is that pregnant women should avoid pineapple and papaya during the first trimester. So, consult your doctor before you start binging on these fruits.
  8. Drinking lukewarm or mildly hot water after a meal can help improve digestion and control acidity.
  9. Eating or drinking something cold when you experience heartburn or a burning sensation in your throat can help ease the discomfort.
  10. Bananas and honey can help relieve heartburn and improve digestion.

What if You Accidentally Take Zantac During Pregnancy?

Many pregnant women may not be aware of the research results published by the FDA. If you have consumed Ranitidine or Zantac during pregnancy, do not panic. The tablets contain only very mild traces of NDMA. It may not necessarily cause any harm to you or your fetus. If you are panicking, discuss it with your doctor. They will be able to assess your intake and guide you accordingly.

It is always advisable to stop all medications and take only those prescribed during pregnancy. No matter how comfortable you are with a particular medication, you may not be aware of its safety or side effects during pregnancy. Also, certain medications can interfere with your prenatal vitamins or other medications and cause side effects or nullify the effect of certain medicines. Only your doctor can guide you in this situation.

Also read: A Comprehensive Guide to Emergency Contraception


Zantac and Ranitidine are not considered to be safe during pregnancy. Try simple home remedies to help alleviate your acidity or heartburn in pregnancy. If nothing helps, seek medical advice and refrain from self-medicating.


1. Is Zantac safe for pregnant women?

No, according to recent research by the FDA, Zantac is not safe for pregnant women. It contains traces of NDMA, an ingredient that can cause cancer. So, doctors advise pregnant women to avoid consuming Zantac.

2. What can pregnant women take instead of Zantac?

Pregnant women can opt for some home remedies to help reduce their heartburns. In case of severe acidity, they can opt for other acid blockers easily available in the market after consulting their doctor.

3. Is Rabeprazole safe in pregnancy?

No, Rabeprazole is generally not recommended during pregnancy as it may have some negative impact on the fetus.

4. Is Rantac safe in pregnancy?

If your doctor prescribes Rantac after knowing about your pregnancy, it can be consumed. Ensure you do not take more than the recommended dosage and stick to the number of dosages prescribed.

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