When you are pregnant and eagerly anticipating the birth of your bundle of joy, the one thing that can spoil the whole experience is heartburn during pregnancy.
It is like a burning sensation in your chest and can be really frustrating and uncomfortable for an already pregnant woman.
The question of how to get rid of these heartburns has definitely come to your mind. And here in this article, I have everything you need to know about heartburn during pregnancy.
So if you wanna know what it is, what the causes of heartburn and how to control or avoid it during pregnancy, then scroll through the article to know more about it.
What Is Heartburn?
“A heartburn is when you have a burning feeling in your chest. The uncomfortable sensation can move up your throat. You may also have a bitter or sour taste in the back of your throat.”
“Though it’s called ‘heartburn,’ it’s not related to your heart. It happens because of acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid moves from your stomach up to your esophagus, which is the tube that carries food, liquid, and saliva to your stomach.”
“A muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) sits between the esophagus and stomach. It opens to allow food to pass, then closes so acid doesn’t travel back up your esophagus. But if the LES doesn’t close properly, the acid can move into your esophagus, causing heartburn.”
What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy?
There are many possible reasons why heartburn during pregnancy is such a common occurrence. A few of these reasons are listed down below.
- Hormone Levels Changing
When your body’s hormone level rises during pregnancy, it can affect your body’s ability to digest and even tolerate food.
The rise of hormone levels in your body can severely hamper your digestive system and slow down the whole digestion process. Now, when the food moves slower in your body, it will cause your body to bloat and have severe heartburn.
- Esophageal Sphincter Relaxing
There is a pregnancy called progesterone that can lower your esophageal sphincter to a more relaxed state. When this happens, the stomach acid can also get inside the esophagus.
- Uterus Enlarging
When you are pregnant, as the baby inside you is growing, your uterus will also become bigger with the baby. When that happens, your stomach will get overcrowded, which will end up pushing your stomach acid upwards to your esophagus.
And that is why heartburn during pregnancy is more common during the third trimester when the baby is quite bigger in size.
How Can Heartburn During Pregnancy Be Prevented?
There are a few ways you can actually prevent heartburn during pregnancy, which are listed below.
- “Eat several small meals throughout the day instead of three large ones.”
- “Eat slowly.”
- “Drink between your meals, but not with meals.”
- “Avoid fried, spicy or fatty foods.”
- “Avoid citrus fruits and juices.”
- “Limit your caffeine intake.”
- “Don’t smoke and avoid alcohol. Besides causing heartburn, smoking, and drinking during pregnancy can cause health problems for the baby.”
Here are a few great tips on how you can actually prevent heartburn during pregnancy, so try these out and let me know what you think.
- “Sit up straight when you eat.”
- “Don’t eat late at night.”
- “Don’t lie down immediately after eating.”
- “Keep the head of your bed higher than the food of the bed. Or try placing pillows under your shoulders. Doing so helps prevent stomach acids from rising into your chest.”
What Does Heartburn During Pregnancy Feel Like?
When you are pregnant, the heartburn could feel like a lot of things; a few of these sensations are as follows.
- Feeling bloated or full
- Feeling sick
- Burp frequently
- Keep bringing up food
- The feeling of pain or a burning sensation in your chest
What Is Acid Reflux During Pregnancy?
Most often, people use the terms “acid reflux” and “heartburn” as the same thing, but in reality, both of them are quite different than each other. So, let’s dig into the difference between the two.
- Acid Reflux
When I talk about acid reflux, it refers to your lower esophageal sphincter not tightening as it is supposed to do.
If it stays loose, the stomach acid can easily travel up from the stomach to the esophagus. “Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or as it is also called GERD, is a severe form of acid reflux.”
Normally, during pregnancy, women often suffer from heartburn or acid reflux because of their changing levels of hormones and also the growing baby.
On the other hand, heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux; it is a painful or burning sensation in your chest.
What Medications Are Safe To Take During Pregnancy?
There are certain medications that you can take when you are pregnant and suffering from heartburn. “Over-the-counter antacids such as Tums, Maalox, and Rolaids may help you cope with occasional heartburn symptoms. Those made of calcium carbonate or magnesium are good options.”
Although you should know that you have, you have to avoid the consumption of magnesium towards the third trimester of your pregnancy. “Magnesium could interfere with contractions during labor. Most doctors recommend avoiding antacids that contain high levels of sodium. These antacids can lead to a buildup of fluid in the tissues.”
“You should also avoid any antacids that list aluminum on the label, as in aluminum carbonate or aluminum hydroxide. These antacids can lead to constipation. Finally, stay away from medications like Alka-Seltzer that may contain aspirin.”
Can I Make Lifestyle Changes That Help Make It Stop?
If you wanna relieve yourself from heartburn during pregnancy, then there are certain lifestyle changes that you need to pursue to have a healthy pregnancy. “Relieving heartburn during pregnancy typically involves some trial and error. Lifestyle habits that can reduce heartburn are often the safest methods for mother and baby.”
- “Eat smaller meals more frequently and avoid drinking while eating. Drink water in between meals instead.”
- “Eat slowly and chew every bite thoroughly.”
- “Avoid eating a few hours before you go to bed.”
- “Avoid foods and beverages that trigger your heartburn. Typical culprits include chocolate, fatty foods, spicy foods, acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomato-based food items, carbonated beverages, and caffeine.”
- “Stay upright for at least one hour after a meal. A leisurely walk may also encourage digestion.”
- “Wear comfortable rather than tight-fitting clothing.”
- “Maintain a healthy weight.”
- “Use pillows or wedges to elevate your upper body while sleeping.”
- “Sleep on your left side. Lying on your right side will position your stomach higher than your esophagus, which may lead to heartburn.”
- “Chew a piece of sugarless gum after meals. The increased saliva may neutralize any acid coming back up into an esophagus.”
- “Eat yogurt or drink a glass of milk to quell symptoms once they start.”
“Alternative medicine options include acupuncture and relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, or guided imagery. Always check with your doctor before trying new treatments.”
When Should I Talk To My Doctor?
“If you have heartburn that often wakes you up at night, returns as soon as your antacids wear off, or creates other symptoms (such as difficulty swallowing, coughing, weight loss, or black stools), you may have a more serious problem that requires attention.”
“Your doctor may prescribe certain acid-reducing medications to reduce your symptoms. Research indicates that medications called H2blockers, which help block the production of acids, appear to be safe.”
“Another type of medication, called proton pump inhibitors, is used for people with heartburn that doesn’t respond to other treatments. Your doctor may diagnose you with GERD. It means that your heartburn needs to be controlled to protect you from complications such as damage to the esophagus.”
“Now if you’re concerned about the effects of medications, be sure to talk to your doctor. Doctors can help you control your symptoms while keeping your unborn child age.”
Well, there you go; here is the necessary information that you might need to understand how to deal with heartburn during pregnancy.
But it is always best that you consult your doctor if you are dealing with heartburn during pregnancy; this article is strictly for your knowledge on the matter at hand.
So, if you think this article was informative and helpful for you, then give this article a like and comment down below at the same time.