Most women experience heartburn during pregnancy. The hormone that relaxes muscles during pregnancy, Progesterone also relaxes the value in the esophagus that keeps acid from being forced into the throat. Another cause for heartburn during pregnancy is as the uterus grows it pushes on your stomach which can force acid up into your esophagus.
There are many strategies to prevent and to soothe heartburn once it starts that are effective and safe for both you and baby.
- Eat small meals: Eating small meals can eliminate a full stomach which can contribute to overproduction of acid in your stomach. Instead of three full meals, try to eat 4-7 smaller meals throughout the day.
- Slow it down: Your appetite increases and at times you may feel ravenous. Before eating take a deep breath and remember to slow down as you eat. This will also help prevent overeating.
- Take a stroll: Take a walk after eating or another physical activity. Try not to lie down or bend over after a meal.
- Midnight Snacking: Don’t eat before bedtime, this can allow the acid to churn and back up into your esophagus. It’s recommended that you do not eat at least three hours before bedtime.
- Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn: Caffeine, chocolate and citrus are the number one triggers of heartburn, try to avoid these foods if possible.
- Clothing: Wear loose clothing that will not constrict the waist and diaphragm. Tight clothes around the waist can exasperate the force on your stomach, which can cause heartburn.
- Pillows: When sleeping, use a few pillows to elevate your head. This helps keep acid where it belongs, in your stomach.
- Ginger: This spice can alleviate the symptoms of heartburn as well as quell an upset stomach. Yes, your mother was right when she told you to drink some ginger ale when you had an upset tummy.
- Honey: Try a tablespoon of honey and a glass of warm milk. This will coat the stomach and shut down that acid pump. Almonds also calm the stomach.
- Antacids: if these changes don’t help with the burn, an antacid may help. Antacids that contain calcium and magnesium are safe during pregnancy. Avoid antacids that contain aluminum as this can be toxic in high doses and can cause constipation. (Always consult with your doctor before taking any medications during pregnancy.)
The chances of having a heartburn free pregnancy are slim, but taking a few precautions and preparing for these flairs can make your relationship with food during your pregnancy a happy one!