More than half of all pregnant women report symptoms of severe heartburn. This is usually during their second and third trimesters. Pregnancy heartburn is uncomfortable, but generally isn’t serious.
Despite its name, heartburn does not involve the heart.
Heartburn is a sensation of burning in the upper part of the digestive tract including the throat. Heartburn is also called indigestion or acid reflux. It can feel like it is rising from the chest and may move up into the neck or jaw and can leave a sour or bitter taste.
You can help ease your pregnancy heartburn by making changes to your diet and lifestyle. Also, there are home remedies to relieve heartburn during pregnancy.
Why Does Pregnant Women Suffer Heartburn?
The hormones coursing through your body make the muscles of the digestive system relax, which slows down digestion. These causes the valve between your esophagus and stomach to relax. This allows acid to escape up to your throat. In addition, as the uterus grows, there is more pressure on your stomach. This can also cause the stomach acid to back up.
In pregnancy, the digestive system has also slowed down. The delay in digestion can also cause more gas. This is the culprit in flatulence and bloating. Your stomach again has less room due to your expanding uterus, and so feels fuller than normal.
How Do You Prevent Heartburn During Pregnancy?
The best way to be free from heartburn during pregnancy is by starting with prevention. The following tips will help you. They are safe and effective.
1. Eat small meals
If you’re suffering from morning sickness, eating just a little at a time is probably no problem for you. But if your appetite is healthy, be sure to avoid eating so much that you feel full.
Just as it does when you’re not pregnant, an overly stuffed stomach can contribute to heartburn. Instead of three square meals a day, try five or six smaller ones.
2. Wear comfortable clothes
Wear clothes that breathe. Tight clothing around your waist can constrict your tummy, adding to the pressure and fueling the discomfort.
3. Don’t smoke
In addition to contributing to serious health problems, smoking boosts the acid in the stomach. This increases the discomfort.
4. Eliminate trigger foods
Identify the foods that intensify your heartburn and avoid them. Universally there are no “banned” foods. But common heartburn triggers include acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, greasy or fried foods, spicy foods, chocolate, coffee and carbonated beverages and alcohol.
5. Avoid eating before bed
You shouldn’t lie down soon after eating. This provides a very easy path for stomach acid to get into the throat. Eat upright and remain upright for at least two hours after eating to prevent heartburn.
6. Sleep propped up
Elevate your upper body by about 6 inches with several pillows or a wedge when you sleep. This helps stomach acid stay down and aids digestion.
7. Separate foods and liquids
Drinking a lot of liquids during a meal will fill you up even more. This leads to an overstuffed stomach. Keep your liquid intake to a minimum during meals. Also drink more water throughout the day, in between meals.
8. Chew food well
Chewing is the first step in the digestive process: The more you chew, the less work your stomach has to do. Plus when you eat too quickly, you often swallow air. This can form gas pockets in your belly. So even when you’re super hungry or in a hurry, make an effort to take small bites and chew well.
9. Sip fluids
Rather than drinking a big glass of milk with dinner, you may be better off just sipping liquids during meals. Try to get most of your fluid intake by drinking beverages between, rather than during, meals.
10. Exercise Regularly
Exercise has been shown to help reduce acid reflux. Speak with your healthcare provider about how much physical activity pregnant women can handle. Even if it is a slow-paced walk, this can offer significant relief.