Heartburn occurs when acid from the stomach is pushed back to the esophagus. It can cause a lot of discomforts but with the use of simple home remedies and prevention tips, you can reduce the symptoms and find relief for heartburn during pregnancy.
Heartburn is a common occurrence during pregnancy due to the increased production of progesterone. Progesterone is the hormone that relaxes your uterine muscles to fit the growing baby.
As a result of progesterone, the stomach valve that typically stops stomach acid from going into the esophagus is also relaxed. In the third trimester, heartburn also increases because the uterus puts pressure on the stomach. This pressure causes the contents of the stomach to be pushed up to the esophagus.
Common symptoms of heartburn include:
- a burning sensation with pain in the chest
- the feeling that acid is coming back into your throat/mouth (regurgitation)
- general discomfort below the breast bone
- a bitter/sour taste in the mouth
- a pain going up your stomach up to your throat.
- Burping, belching and even feeling nauseated.
Heartburn Triggers/ Causes of heartburn.
There are certain things that increase the occurrence of heartburn during pregnancy. Some common causes of heartburn include:
- Spicy and oily/greasy foods
- Citrus fruits
- Cigarette smoke & Alcohol – more reasons to avoid them during pregnancy
By changing simple things like your dietary habits to get rid of the triggers, you can reduce your chances of having heartburn.
Related: Must-have pregnancy items for moms
How to Prevent Heartburn During Pregnancy
Here are some things you can do that have been known to prevent heartburn during pregnancy. These are basic habit changes as well as getting rid of the things that trigger heartburn so that you do not experience heartburn symptoms:
1. Eat smaller-sized meals, slowly
Since over-eating can cause heartburn, it is better to eat smaller portions of food. So instead of eating 3 large meals per day, eat 6 smaller-sized meals at regular intervals. Eating slowly is also helpful because you chew for longer and as a result, it helps with digestion.
2. Sit up/ Stay upright for at least one hour after a meal
Lying down immediately after a meal will increase your chances of having heartburn. Stay in an upright position for at least 1 hour after your meal for digestion to take place.
3. Keep your head elevated when going to sleep
You can do this by putting an object under your head-side of the bed so that your upper body is elevated. This allows gravity to work with you to avoid any acid reflux into your esophagus while you are laying down.
4. Finish eating 2-3 hours before you go to bed
This will allow for digestion to complete before you lie down and hence decreasing chances of acid reflux.
5. Wear loose clothing
Tight clothing can increase the pressure on your tummy which can cause heartburn.
Other prevention tips you can use:
- Reduce your intake of citrus juice
- Avoid raw onions as they irritate the lining of your esophagus
- Limit your intake of carbonated drinks
- Drink a lot of water
- Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day- check with your doctor which exercises are appropriate for you.
- Check your medications if they might be causing heartburn.
What foods can you use as natural remedies for heartburn when pregnant?
It contains anti-inflammatory properties which help to soothe the stomach as well as minimize nausea. It also prevents excessive production of acid. Ginger is great for preventing indigestion and acidity and it is an active ingredient in many of the Ayurvedic medication for indigestion. Use it as a spice or eat raw pieces.
Bananas are rich in potassium, low in acid and high in fiber. Their high-fiber content helps with digestion, keeping off indigestion. They help with heartburn by coating the esophageal lining to get rid of discomfort.
It has a soothing effect on the stomach which keeps the discomfort away. Yogurt is also rich in probiotics which boosts the immunity of your body.
Melons, especially honeydew melon and cantaloupe are highly alkaline which makes them good for acid reflux.
Fresh mint leaves
They aid in digestion and have soothing properties which help to treat indigestion and heartburn
Pineapples contain an enzyme that helps to control the level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Pineapple juice is great for reducing hyperacidity and heartburn.
They are rich in natural oils. These neutralize the acid in the stomach and soothe the lining. High fiber content also aids in digestion. Next time you have heartburn you may want to just chew on some almonds.
Milk is rich in calcium which is the main ingredient in OTC heartburn medications. It helps maintain pH balance and prevents acid buildup while absorbing the excess acid produced. Cold milk is usually more effective than hot milk
They stimulate mucous production to coat the stomach and soothe inflammation in the esophagus due to excessive acid. This helps to relieve heartburn as well as nausea.
Medications for heartburn
If natural remedies don’t seem to be helping, there is a lot of Over The Counter medications that are safe to use during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor before taking any medication.
The most recommended ones include:
- Rolaids Regular and
Have you dealt with heartburn during pregnancy? Share your favorite tips with other moms in the comments.