Heartburn, also called acid reflux or indigestion, is common in pregnancy. It can happen due to hormonal changes and the growing baby putting stress against your stomach. If you have heartburn, you may feel a painful, burning feeling in the chest or throat.
You can help ease your heartburn symptoms by making changes to your diet and lifestyle, and try some treatments that are safe to take in pregnancy.
During pregnancy, hormone changes which release relaxin, can allow the muscles in the esophagus (the tube which carries food and drink between your mouth and stomach), including the muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), to relax more frequently. As a result, muscles in your esophagus push food more slowly into the stomach. You may have a burning feeling in your heart or even bloating. Although this may cause you some discomfort, it is beneficial for your baby to have better absorption of nutrients.
During the second and third trimester, your stomach is under more pressure due to expanding uterus. This may cause more stomach acids to back up from the stomach to the esophagus , especially when you are lying down or after having a large meal.
Here are some natural ways to ease your acid reflux:
Change eating habits
Separating meals into small amounts. Avoid drinking while eating. Eat slowly and chew every bite thoroughly. The more you chew, the less work your stomach needs to do. Also, trying to have meals 3 hours before going to bed.
Change drinking habits
You can try drinking water between meals instead of during meals.
Avoid trigger foods
Limit foods and beverages which may trigger your heartburn, including chocolate, fatty foods, spicy foods, citrus juice, mint, carbonated beverages, and caffeine.
Stay upright for at least one hour after a meal and take a walk. It may put less pressure on your belly. Avoid bending down or lying down to prevent food moving back to your esophagus.
Elevate the head of your bed
Heartburn may interrupt your night sleep. Try a pregnancy pillow to lift up your upper body to ease acid reflux. The pillow is multi function, turning to a nursing pillow after the baby is born.
Heartburn may trigger nausea. Ginger is safe and recommended to ease nausea and vomiting. Try some ginger sugar and ginger soup now!
Wearing tight to sleep may cause some discomfort and worsen heartburn. Maternity and nursing pajamas with adjustable waist bands may fit your growing bump well. It turns to nursing-friendly pajamas when you need to night breastfeed your baby.
Last but not least, talk and consult your doctor if your heartburn symptoms continue or you plan to take medicine like antacids and alginates. Although heartburn can be a symptom you experience throughout your pregnancy, simple dietary and lifestyle changes can significantly relieve heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms.