Omeprazole

(Date: August 2015. Version: 2)

This factsheet has been written for members of the public by the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS). UKTIS is a not-for-profit organisation funded by Public Health England on behalf of UK Health Departments. UKTIS has been providing scientific information to health care providers since 1983 on the effects that medicines, recreational drugs and chemicals may have on the developing baby during pregnancy.

What is it?

Omeprazole is a medicine called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). It reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach, and is used to treat indigestion, acid reflux, and stomach ulcers.

What are the benefits of using omeprazole in pregnancy?

Indigestion and acid reflux are common in pregnancy and can cause pain and discomfort. Use of omeprazole can greatly improve these symptoms.

Omeprazole can also help stomach ulcers to heal and prevent serious complications.

Are there any risks of using omeprazole during pregnancy?

Omeprazole is commonly used in pregnancy. There is no good evidence that omeprazole or other drugs from the PPI family are linked to miscarriage, birth defects, stillbirth, preterm delivery, or low infant birth weight.

Some (but not all) studies have shown possible links between use of medicines in pregnancy that reduce stomach acid production, and allergy and asthma in children. Further research is required to determine whether there is a true link. Reassuringly, the studies all showed that the vast majority of exposed children did not have allergies or asthma.

Are there any alternatives to taking omeprazole?

Possibly. Some women with indigestion and acid reflux find that their symptoms can be improved with lifestyle measures such as avoiding fatty foods, ensuring that they do not gain too much weight, not smoking, and sleeping with the head of their bed raised. Other medicines such as antacids or alginates (e.g. Gaviscon) can also be tried before omeprazole is used.

Medicines other than omeprazole can be used to treat a stomach ulcer. If you have any concerns, you can arrange to speak to your GP or specialist, but you should not stop taking omeprazole or change your medicine unless upon medical advice.

What if I prefer not to take medicines to treat indigestion, acid reflux, or stomach ulcers?

Indigestion and acid reflux are uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but when experienced short-term in pregnancy, generally do not pose a significant health risk. Therefore, some pregnant women may choose not to use treatments. However, if indigestion and acid reflux are affecting quality of life (such as causing pain, affecting sleep etc) then the benefits of treatment may outweigh any worries about hypothetical risks. Your doctor or midwife will be happy to discuss any of your concerns.

Medicines prescribed to treat stomach ulcers should not be stopped or changed unless upon the advice of a GP or specialist.

Will my baby need extra monitoring?

Most women will be offered a scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy to check their baby’s wellbeing as part of their routine antenatal care. No additional monitoring is required following use of omeprazole.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father has taken omeprazole?

We would not expect any increased risk to your baby if the father takes omeprazole.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions regarding the information in this leaflet, please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from www.uktis.org

Will my baby need extra monitoring during pregnancy?

Most women will be offered a scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy to look for birth defects as part of their routine antenatal care. Taking omeprazole in pregnancy is not expected to cause problems that would require extra monitoring of your baby.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father has taken omeprazole?

We would not expect any increased risk to your baby if the father took omeprazole before or around the time you became pregnant.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions regarding the information in this leaflet please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from www.uktis.org.  

Feedback request 

WE NEED YOUR HELP! Do you have 3 minutes to complete a short, quick and simple 12 question user feedback form about our bumps information leaflets? To have your say on how we can improve our website and the information we provide please visit here.

General information 

Up to 1 out of every 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and 1 in 40 babies are born with a birth defect. These are referred to as the background population risks.  They describe the chance of these events happening for any pregnancy before taking factors such as the mother’s health during pregnancy, her lifestyle, medicines she takes and the genetic make up of her and the baby’s father into account.

Medicines use in pregnancy

Most medicines used by the mother will cross the placenta and reach the baby. Sometimes this may have beneficial effects for the baby.  There are, however, some medicines that can harm a baby’s normal development.  How a medicine affects a baby may depend on the stage of pregnancy when the medicine is taken. If you are on regular medication you should discuss these effects with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please ensure the doctor or health care professional treating you is aware of your pregnancy.

When deciding whether or not to use a medicine in pregnancy you need to weigh up how the medicine might improve your and/or your unborn baby’s health against any possible problems that the drug may cause. Our bumps leaflets are written to provide you with a summary of what is known about use of a specific medicine in pregnancy so that you can decide together with your health care provider what is best for you and your baby.   

Every pregnancy is unique. The decision to start, stop, continue or change a prescribed medicine before or during pregnancy should be made in consultation with your health care provider. It is very helpful if you can record all your medication taken in pregnancy in your hand held maternity records.

   

www.medicinesinpregnancy.org

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace the individual care and advice of your health care provider. New information is continually becoming available. Whilst every effort will be made to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date at the time of publication, we cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes following decisions made on the basis of this information. We strongly advise that printouts should NOT be kept for any length of time, or for “future reference” as they can rapidly become out of date.

My bump’s record

Create your own ‘My bump’s record’.

Provide information about your pregnancy to help women in the future.

Login to my bumps

Join my bumps