Heartburn is the burning sensation that occurs in the esophagus when the acid juices from the stomach go back into the gullet. It has been seen that most pregnant women suffer from heartburn on and off during the day and night, that gets worse after eating or while lying down. The reasons for such bouts of heartburn during pregnancy are as follows
- During pregnancy the hormone progesterone causes the sphincter valve between the esophagus and stomach to relax, causing stomach acids to seep back into the esophagus. The sensitive esophagus lining is thus irritated by the stomach acids leading to heartburn in pregnant women.
- Changing hormone levels can affect the muscles of the digestive tract and affect how different foods are tolerated
- The growing uterus puts pressure on the intestines and the stomach. The pressure on the stomach pushes contents back up into the esophagus.
Heartburn occurs at any time from 20 weeks onwards and worsens as pregnancy progresses and the uterus gets bigger.
Symptoms of Heartburn During Pregnancy
- A burning feeling that starts in the chest, just behind the breastbone, occurring immediately after having food and lasting a few minutes to several hours.
- A burning feeling in the throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Sour or bitter taste in the mouth
- Chronic coughing
- Loss of voice for no apparent reason
- Wheezing or other asthma-like symptoms
Tips to Deal With Heartburn During Pregnancy
Prevention is Better Than Cure
It is always most appropriate to prevent the occurrence of heartburn rather than treat it. To prevent heartburn
- Eat five to six smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals
- Eat slowly
- Wait an hour after eating to lie down
- Gain weight appropriately – Ask your physician about the safe amount of weight required to gain during pregnancy and try not to exceed the value by sticking to healthy rather than fatty food
- Remain upright for an hour after eating, lying down can irritate the problem
- If heartburn is bad at night, avoid eating before you go to bed.
- Avoid spicy, greasy and fatty foods
- If you get heartburn during the day, try sitting in an upright chair, leaning forward slightly, rather than lounging back on a sofa.
- When you’re bending over, particularly to pick things up, try bending your knees and crouching rather than suddenly leaning over.
- Avoid eating and drinking at the same time.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes if you’re feeling uncomfortable.
- Lifestyle modifications – These include
- raising the head of the bed 15cm
- avoiding late night meals, foods that precipitate heartburn, smoking and alcohol.
Natural Cures and Tips to Cure Heartburn
Relieve the symptoms of heartburn by following these natural cures
- Eat yogurt or drink a glass of milk
- Try a tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm milk
- At night, try propping yourself up on a couple of pillows.
- Try and work out which foods might be triggering off your symptoms and avoid them.
- Coffee and tea can increase stomach acidity, so opt for herbal tea instead.
- Chewing gum can stimulate saliva, which helps neutralize stomach acid.
- Eating yogurt or drinking milk can help
- Use herbal tea – Try drinking Ginger, Chamomile or Spearmint tea each day. This remedy will assuredly give relief to heartburn during a pregnancy.
Ask your care taker to prescribe you antacids for your heartburn. In case of sever heartburns the physician will prescribe medications.
When to Call the Doctor
Always speak to your midwife or doctor if you’re unsure as to whether what you’re experiencing is heartburn, or have any unexpected aches, pains and discomfort.
Heartburn Post Pregnancy
Though heartburn causes lots of discomfort it won’t harm your baby and will ease eventually once the pregnancy is over.
In Retrospective – Heartburn During Pregnancy
It is most appropriate to prevent heartburn by avoiding the triggers for heart burn and employing sufficient lifestyle modifications. In any case that heartburn develops during pregnancy, you may try out one or multiple natural cures discussed here, and soothe the discomfort in your esophagus.