Is Pepto Bismol Safe During Pregnancy?

The active ingredient in Pepto Bismol is Bismuth subsalicylate which is an antacid and anti-diarrhea medicine, and is very frequently used in North American for the treatment of various stomach problems like indigestion, reflux, acidity, nausea, diarrhea or upset stomach. The active ingredient, Bismuth, forms a coating layer over the gut and stomach, protecting them from exposure to the strong acids found in stomach and speeding up the recovery process. Besides, Pepto Bismol can cure and prevent diarrhea by slowing down the growth of diarrhea-causing bacteria in gut. The body undergoes a lot of hormonal changes during pregnancy, which can lead to diarrhea as well. The question here is, "Can Pepto Bismol be used during pregnancy?"

Is Pepto Bismol Safe During Pregnancy?

Every medicine should be taken with caution during pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration Authority (FDA) classifies and labels the medication that can be used during pregnancy as Class A, B, C, D, and X. Class A drug is safe to take and its safety for the expectant mother and baby is documented by clinical research. Class B drugs are considered generally safe, and drugs belonging to Class C must be taken under supervision of a health care provider but are mostly considered safe. Class D drugs may be necessary, but are associated with certain risks. Class X drugs is associated with more risks than the benefits they offer.

Pepto Bismol is given a Class C label for usage during the first and second trimesters, while for the third trimester of pregnancy it is labeled as a Class D drug. It means that Pepto Bismol is relatively safe during pregnancy but a health care professional must always be consulted before taking Pepto Bismol during pregnancy.

Dark stools are very commonly associated with Pepto Bismol usage, but generally this is temporary and gets better with time. If your diarrhea is severe and persists for over 2 days or if your diarrhea is accompanied by fever, you should immediately contact your health care provider. You must seek urgent medical help if the stool contains mucus or blood, or if you are feeling dehydrated.

What to Do If Having Diarrhea During Pregnancy

Although you get a positive answer to the question, "Is Pepto Bismol safe during pregnancy?", you have to be cautious about taking medications during pregnancy. Besides, diarrhea normally gets better by itself and the following natural remedies will be enough to solve this issue.

  • Proper hydration is necessary for your own and your baby's health because the body gets depleted of large amounts of fluids and nutrients during diarrhea. Dehydration can leave you exhausted, weak and lethargic. Try to take small amounts of liquid frequently. Water, fruit juices, broth, tea and other drinks without caffeine are very helpful.
  • Take light and easily digestible BRAT foods, like banana, rice, apple sauce, toast, cereal, etc. Take frequent small helpings to keep you well nourished.
  • Try to take small frequent meals, instead of two or three big meal per day to provide timely energy and nutrition supply and cut down the burden of your digestive system.
  • Clear chicken or vegetable soups, yogurt or sago are rich in proteins and other nutrients. Add them into your diets. If you are unable to keep them down, try taking a few spoons after short intervals.
  • It is not only water that is lost during diarrhea, essential salts and minerals are also lost. ORT or oral rehydration therapy is a kind of fluid replacement, which is used to prevent and cure dehydration, especially that caused by diarrhea. The fluid it provides contains the right amounts of minerals, water and sugar. It is better absorbed in the intestines than water and replenishes the electrolytes that are depleted by diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Try to avoid fried or fatty food, carbonated and caffeinated drinks, excessive dairy products, dried fruit like prunes, spices, red meat or foods containing too much fiber. They are not easily digested and will make the symptoms worse. 
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