Early Pregnancy and Pepto Bismal

When you’re trying to get pregnant, and tracking your cycle, then you know how brutal that two-week-wait can be! Some women sail through it like nothing is going on. Others of us (me included!) tend to symptom spot like crazy!! And it almost drives us crazy!

Backaches, nausea, tender breasts, the list goes on. But how do you know whether you’re seeing early pregnancy symptoms or if you’re actually getting sick when it comes to the nausea? If you’re the backwards lucky kind (like I tend to be) you’ll be both! But if you’re sick prior to getting a positive test, what can you do about it?

When I got pregnant with my oldest daughter, 10 years ago, I had 3 days of “normal” morning sickness. But I didn’t even know I was pregnant. I thought I had the flu. And I was on birth control, so I didn’t even think I could be pregnant! So to combat the nausea, I started taking Pepto Bismal.

I found out I was pregnant a week or so later, after I started getting car sick. (And car sickness has been my tip off with all of my subsequent pregnancies as well.) So of course, I do the usual. I make the midwife appointment, I wait for the day to come and I go in. She asks me all kinds of questions and one of them happens to be about my morning sickness. When I told her I was using Pepto Bismal to control the nausea, she got pretty upset at me and told me it was unsafe.

As it was my first pregnancy, I accepted her guidance and I stopped taking the pink stuff. Fast forward to my last pregnancy in 2017. I was once again going to a midwife, this was my 4th pregnancy past 10 weeks, and I had both night sickness AND car sickness. So I asked her about using Pepto. And she actually told me that it was okay in small doses!

I had honestly forgotten about all of this until the last couple months. My stress levels have been extremely high and when I’m stressed, I get extremely nauseous. When I’m nauseous, I rely on Pepto. Add in trying to conceive and it’s just a whole jumbled mess. This morning, my first midwife’s warnings came back to me and I realized that I may get pregnant during any cycle, but I wouldn’t know about it until after I’ve already been using Pepto a few times a week for the first couple weeks. So I decided to do some research.

Here is what I found:

“The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests that you avoid taking Pepto-Bismol during the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy. This is because it raises your risk of bleeding problems when you take it closer to delivery. However, it’s likely safe to take the drug during the first trimester of pregnancy. That said, even during the first trimester, it’s probably best to use Pepto-Bismol as few times as possible.” (http://bit.ly/2vM1eVN)

“Pepto-Bismol may not be safe to use during pregnancy because, as with aspirin, it is a salicylate. This group of medications is anti-inflammatory and known to have effects related to bleeding. … Birth abnormalities from salicylates are more common when people take them for a long time, or when they take more than the recommended amount.” (http://bit.ly/2H8S0IG)

According to American Family Physician, “Use of bismuth subsalicylate can result in absorption of salicylate and should be avoided in pregnancy.”

The warning issued on the official Pepto Bismal website is as follows: “If you are pregnant or nursing, ask a doctor before taking Pepto-Bismol. As with any drug, read the label thoroughly before use. “

So from everything I read on the internet (because we all know how reliable that is sometimes…) I have came to the conclusion that occasional use in the two-week-wait is not going to cause a problem and that one should consult with their doctor or midwife if they are concerned.


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