We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
What does heartburn during pregnancy feel like?
Heartburn (also called acid indigestion or acid reflux) is a burning sensation that often extends from the bottom of the breastbone to the lower throat. Many women experience heartburn for the first time during pregnancy, and although it's common and generally harmless, it can be quite uncomfortable.
Heartburn and related issues like gas and bloating during pregnancy usually start in the second or third trimester, but it can be sooner for some women. The discomfort will probably come and go until your baby is born, but in most cases heartburn is no longer a problem after delivery.
Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy might continue to have heartburn for up to a year after having their baby.
What causes heartburn in pregnancy?
Some of the hormonal and physical changes in your body during pregnancy can cause heartburn. For example, the placenta produces the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus. This hormone also relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach, which can make gastric acid seep back up and cause that unpleasant burning sensation in your throat.
Progesterone can also make digestion sluggish by slowing down the wavelike contractions of your esophagus and intestines. Later in pregnancy, your growing baby crowds your abdominal cavity, pushing stomach acid back up into the esophagus.
How can I reduce heartburn during pregnancy?
Prevention is your best bet to reduce heartburn during your pregnancy. Though you may not be able to avoid the condition entirely, here are some ways to prevent it and minimize any discomfort:
- Avoid food and drinks that upset your stomach. These include carbonated drinks, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, mustard, vinegar, mint products, processed meats, and foods that are fatty, spicy, fried, or highly seasoned.
- Eat small meals. Instead of three large meals, eat several small ones throughout the day. Take your time eating and chew thoroughly.
- Drink water in between meals. It's important to drink plenty of water daily during pregnancy, but too much liquid can distend your stomach. Stay hydrated by drinking most of your water in between meals.
- Chew gum after eating. Chewing gum stimulates your salivary glands, and saliva can help neutralize acid.
- Eat two or three hours before bedtime. This gives your body time to digest before you lie down.
- 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.
- Dress comfortably. Wear loose, relaxed clothing. Don't wear clothes that are tight around your waist and tummy.
- Ask your provider about heartburn medicines. An antacid that contains magnesium or calcium may ease discomfort. Check with your provider before taking one because some brands are high in sodium or contain aluminum or aspirin. You can also talk to your provider about prescription heartburn medications that are safe during pregnancy.
- Don't smoke. In addition to contributing to serious health problems, smoking boosts the acid in the stomach. (If you're having trouble quitting, ask your provider for a referral to a smoking cessation program.)