Zantac: Safe during pregnancy?

I am in my second trimester and have been experiencing heartburn every night. A friend told me Zantac helped her. Is this medication safe during pregnancy?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Zantac does cross the placenta, but reproductive studies in animals have revealed no adverse effects, according to Briggs' "Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation" (2001).

In human babies exposed to this drug during all trimesters of pregnancy, there has never been a birth defect or pregnancy loss that could be directly related to the use of this medication.

Zantac (Ranitidine) is an FDA Category B drug, which means that "either animal reproduction studies have not demonstrated a fetal risk but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women or animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect that was not confirmed in controlled studies in women in the first trimester and there is no evidence of a risk in later trimesters."

It is best to take no medications while pregnant unless the benefit clearly outweighs the risk. As always, please check with your obstetric care provider before you take any medications, prescribed or over-the-counter, during pregnancy or if you are trying to conceive.

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