The role of proton pump inhibitors in the treatment of heartburn during pregnancy


  • Leslie A. Christopher MN, RNC, WHNP

  • Conflict of Interest Disclosure
    No relationship exists between the author and any commercial entity or product mentioned in this article that might represent a conflict of interest. No inducements have been made by any commercial entity to submit the manuscript for publication.

  • Disclaimer
    The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

  • Author
    Leslie A. Christopher, MN, RNC, is a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner and a Major (select) in the United States Air Force.

Contact Ms. Christopher by e-mail at



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.


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.