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Keywords:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux;
  • heartburn;
  • histamine2 receptor antagonists;
  • proton pump inhibitors;
  • pregnancy

Purpose

To review the problem of heartburn in gravid women, discuss the present treatment options, and examine the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) as one of the treatment options for moderate to severe heartburn.

Data sources

Extensive review of worldwide scientific literature on the use and safety of PPIs during pregnancy and heartburn during pregnancy.

Conclusions

Preliminary information indicates that use of PPIs during pregnancy is safe for both the fetus and the woman and that obstetrical practitioners are using them more frequently. Randomized controlled trials are needed to examine the efficacy of PPIs to treat heartburn during pregnancy, especially as they are compared to histamine2 receptor antagonists.

Implications for practice

Heartburn during pregnancy is at risk for being undertreated, given that delivery is the cure. As PPIs are more widely used by women, questions will arise regarding their use in the first trimester as well as throughout pregnancy. This article brings nurse practitioners up to date on the safety of PPIs through the literature review and suggests various treatment options that can be discussed with the patient.