Taking heartburn medication during pregnancy appears to increase a child’s risk of developing asthma, new research suggests.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the University of Tampere in Finland published their findings following a scientific review of eight studies, involving more than 1.3 million children.
They found that it’s at least one-third more common for children born to mothers who took acid-blocking drugs during pregnancy to have developed symptoms of asthma. However, they stress that this finding is not yet conclusive.
Heartburn or acid reflux is caused by acid passing from the stomach back into the esophagus. It is a common among pregnant women as the womb puts pressure on the stomach and due to hormonal changes.
Certain drugs can help ease the discomfort caused by the reflux, and are considered safe to use during pregnancy.
While the association to asthma is intriguing, researchers say that, since it isn’t conclusive, pregnant women should follow existing guidelines, consulting with their doctor or nurse when needed.
“This association does not prove that the medicines caused asthma in these children and further research is needed to better understand this link,” Dr. Aziz Shelkh, co-director of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research at the University of Edinburgh, said in a press release.
The team hasn’t determined if the heartburn medication itself is contributing to the development of asthma in kids or if it’s the result other factors related to this association.
Dr. Samantha Walker, director of policy and research at Asthma UK, says the “study points us towards something that needs further investigation.”
See the study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, here.