A lot of pregnant women complain of heartburn during this stage of their lives, indeed, heartburn is one of the most common side effects of pregnancy. Heartburn is experienced as a burning sensation in the throat or chest and sometimes, there is a feeling of a large lump in the throat or upper chest.
Heartburn during pregnancy is uncomfortable and is best prevented. It is a good thing that there are various ways to do this.
What causes heartburn during pregnancy?
There are different reasons why pregnant women experience heartburn and one of the most common reasons is hormonal changes. During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone becomes active and relaxes the valve that normally prevents stomach acid from entering the esophagus. When stomach acids are allowed to enter the esophagus, this eventually results to irritation and heartburn.
You can reduce the risk of heartburn during pregnancy by breaking your meals into six smaller meals a day. This means that during your pregnancy, you will be eating approximately every three hours. This can also help curb your hunger pangs.
Heartburn and indigestion become most common during the last trimester of your pregnancy and this is due to the baby growing and your expanding uterus exerts increasing pressure on your intestines and stomach. This often results to stomach acids backing up the esophagus.
How to Treat Heartburn During Pregnancy
Although you cannot stop your uterus from expanding during pregnancy and prevent your hormone levels from increasing, here are some simple measures you can take to reduce the risk of heartburn:
- Avoid spicy and fatty foods.
- Avoid drinking a lot of fluids during meals because this can distend your stomach.
- Avoid caffeine and carbonated beverages.
- Avoid spices, hot sauces as well as certain condiments like ketchup or mustard.
- Eat several small meals during the day to help reduce the pressure on your stomach.
- Eat at least one hour before going to bed for a nap or to retire for the night.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes that tend to pinch at the waist.
- Avoid tomato and tomato based products.
Easing the symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy:
- Mix some honey with your milk to ease the discomfort and burn of heartburn.
- Eat plenty of yogurt.
- Neutralize stomach acids and reduce heartburn by chewing some gum after meals.
- Severe heartburn can also be relieved by taking over the counter antacids however you must check with your healthcare provider first to make sure that the drug is safe for you to take. A lot of OTC antacids are considered safe to use during pregnancy however you should check the label first and ask your doctor if you can take it.
If you find the symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy to be particularly difficult, you may need to take more aggressive treatment so better consult your doctor. Your healthcare provider may be able to prescribe something stronger yet safe to provide relief from the pain and discomfort. Although heartburn during pregnancy is quite common, this will soon pass just like other pregnancy side effects. Soon after delivery, you should be able to feel an immediate improvement in your symptoms.