Pregnancy is a blessing and a miracle, but there will be times when you feel neither blessed nor miraculous. One symptom that may cause you discomfort is experiencing heartburn during pregnancy.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is a burning sensation of the esophagus and leaves a bad taste in your mouth and a fire in you chest. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?
You may experience heartburn during pregnancy even if you have not suffered from heartburn before. Be prepared to take some antacids, but of course, always consult your doctor beforehand.
Heartburn normally starts in the second trimester of pregnancy. In some pregnant moms, heartburn may start even in the first trimester as one of their first symptoms of pregnancy.
What causes heartburn during pregnancy?
The hormone progesterone is one of the causes of this heartburn, but on the other hand, the progesterone is an essential element in pregnancy.
Progesterone helps relax the smooth muscles of the uterus so they can expand and make room for your baby. Similarly, progesterone also causes your esophageal muscles to relax, which allows gastric acids to seep up into the back of your throat, and that is where the heartburn in pregnancy begins.
Another cause of heartburn in late pregnancy is because your stomach is compressed due to the growth of the uterus. There is less space in your stomach which causes the stomach contents back up into the esophagus.
What can I do to prevent or reduce heartburn during pregnancy?
There are several natural remedies for treating heartburn; amongst other things you must follow a healthy pregnancy diet. However if your heartburn is severe, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor to provide you some medication.
Here you have some tips that will help reduce discomfort:
- Avoid drinking large amounts of liquid with meals, instead, spread out fluid intake throughout the day.
- Remain sitting upright for at least 30 minutes after a meal and sleep with and extra pillow at night to keep the head elevated. Do not go to bed with a full stomach.
- Don’t bend at the waist; always bend at the knees, maintaining a more upright abdominal posture.
- Try lying on your right side and using relaxation techniques to calm your stomach and promote digestion.
- Take antacids containing low sodium just before meals; Medication will definitely reduce heartburn during pregnancy. Check with your doctor for brand preferences.
- Avoid foods that can further relax the esophagus such as alcohol, peppermint, garlic, and chocolate.
- Avoid foods that irritate the stomach such as peppers, tomatoes and tomato products, carbonated beverages, and spicy foods.
My own experience with heartburn during pregnancy
Heartburn was one of the first symptoms of pregnancy for me. I was really struck by this discomfort, even during the early months of pregnancy.
Apparently my progesterone level was very high and it began to relax my muscles, causing a terrible heartburn until the end of my pregnancy.
The last month of pregnancy was the most difficult for me. Fortunately my doctor was always taking care of my health and gave me medicine to reduce this discomfort.
If heartburn was an issue for you during your 9 months, click here to share with us your own experience, what did you do to avoid heartburn while pregnant? Share with visitors to this page!
Do not treat yourself or take the typical antacid that you used to take before pregnancy. Your doctor is the only one that should recommend an antacid to take care of your health and your baby.
My recommended diet plan to reduce heartburn during pregnancy is:
Fruits that can help neutralize stomach acids and are considered safe to include in your acid reflux diet plan are apples, berries, melons, bananas, peaches and pears
Include vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cabbage, peas and green beans
BREAD and GRAINS
Corn bread, white bread, bran or oatmeal cereal, pretzels, brown or white rice and rice cakes
You can also include dairy products like fat-free sour cream, fat-free cream cheese, low-fat soy cheese
Opt for low fat meat, chicken, fish and turkey in the diet
Mineral water, juices or herbal tea
There are foods that can aggravate the symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy, so you should completely avoid these foods and drinks that result in acid reflux.
Foods to avoid:
Avoid high fat content or spicy foods, junk food, and foods with lots of refined sugars. Avoid citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit. Avoid fatty meat, such as, sausage and bacon and refrain from using animal or vegetable oils while cooking.
A strict no for any acid reflux diet is the intake of beverages like alcohol, coffee, carbonated beverages, tea, and mint tea. Unfortunately chocolate seems to have made its way into the acid reflux – foods to avoid list too.