Heartburn During Pregnancy
At some point in time we have all come across pregnant women and their complaints. During pregnancy, most women are highly vulnerable and so they suffer from a lot of things. As an expecting mom, you will also be expecting little side effects that may include; Hemorrhoids, backaches, nausea and dizziness.
Another very common pregnancy problem is heartburn (a digestive problem). So, what causes heartburn during pregnancy? It occurs when progesterone is released into a woman’s system when she becomes pregnant. Progesterone makes the muscle between the stomach and the esophagus- also known as the cardiac sphincter muscle- relax. When this muscle relaxes, it becomes easier for food and gastric acid to flow backwards and partway up the esophagus. The esophagus lining is burned by the stomach acid and that is the painful sensation of heartburn that you feel in the middle of your chest. There are several factors that associate heartburn and pregnancy such as hormonal and bodily changes. Heartburn becomes especially bad in the third trimester, when the baby is getting larger and larger and is pressing harder on the stomach. What can cause heartburn other than hormonal changes? There are a number of foods that also can cause heartburn during pregnancy and so it is important to take note of these foods which may include citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, cranberry, grapefruit, lemonade, fatty meats, tomatoes, onions and alcohol including liquor and wine (which should not at all be consumed by pregnant women anyway).
The symptoms of heartburn are nevertheless harmless and normal for pregnant women, they may be very uncomfortable though. Heartburn affects many pregnant women differently; some women are affected more severely by heartburn during pregnancy than others. While some pregnant women experience more severe bouts of acid reflux, others experience very mild symptoms which can be well tolerated or controlled. The good news is, heartburn is not a permanent or a chronic condition. There are many simple treatments that can completely alleviate heartburn during pregnancy.
It is considered fine to use a mild antacid like Tums or Mylanta to treat the heartburn. If not, changing a few critical habits that can contribute to pregnancy heartburn might be necessary. You should:
- Whenever you feel the urge to eat do it in a small quantity throughout the day: You must thoroughly chew everything you eat, eating larger meals is dangerous. Because most women tend to eat more, the stomach may be very full. You can prevent heartburn during pregnancy by eating smaller meals at more frequent intervals. This can greatly assist the body’s digestive system in digesting the foods you eat before heartburn arises.
- Do not forget to sleep with your head elevated: By elevating the top half of your body you force gravity to keep the acid that resulted to heartburn inside your belly.
- At the first sign of heartburn, drink a glass of water: Water dilutes the acid that appears to “burn” your “insides”, and flushes it back into the stomach. Also refrain from drinking too much water during mealtime as it can overload your stomach and force some of the acid to flow back to the esophagus.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Avoid pressure on your stomach as much as possible. Loose clothes give your stomach room to breathe; a great and simple change that could help much to minimize heartburn while pregnant.
- One of the best heartburn remedies during pregnancy is to simply drink a glass of milk, one of the nicest natural heartburn relief options. Alternatively, you can mix a tablespoon of honey with a glass of warm milk to get rid of heartburn. Honey is known as a digestive catalyst.
The old adage “prevention is better than cure” is always good advice, and not completely impossible even when pregnant. For heartburn relief during pregnancy you are advised to heed the following advice; it should greatly prevent heartburn. Prevent heartburn during pregnancy by:
- Avoiding not only alcohol (a definite no-no), but also drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and cola
- Do not lie down immediately after a meal.
- Having the bed in a tilted position, with the head raised high when sleeping.
- Rather than indulging in large meals, take your food in smaller portions. This will help your stomach in digesting the foods you eat before heartburn sets in. Be sure to eat slowly and chew your food completely.
- Be sure to stand up straight and sit straight in your chair. Bending at the knees rather than at the waist will reduce pressure upon your ever-growing belly. Wearing tight clothing can also put unnecessary pressure on your stomach. Wear loose, comfortable clothing during pregnancy.
Heartburn is just one of the minor symptoms you will have to deal with when pregnant. Rather look to cure heartburn naturally; do not be tempted to buy over-the-counter antacids before talking to your doctor as medications like these, while normally helpful, can pose health issues to you and your baby.