How to Control Heartburn During Pregnancy

May 7th 2016

Ease heartburn with a combination of lifestyle changes, better foods and better sleeping habits. Your primary care doctor may have additional recommendations based on your current health status and any underlying health conditions.

Eating Habits

Eat several small meals per day instead of three large ones. Larger meals encourage more stomach acid production, which could lead to acid moving into the lower part of the esophagus. Eat slowly, chew your food thoroughly and avoid certain foods such as spicy, high-acid, fatty and rich foods. Foods that contain a lot of acid include citrus fruits and tomatoes. Drink less while eating since large amounts of liquids may encourage heartburn by distending the stomach. Avoid eating right before bedtime.

Lying Down

Stay seated or stand after eating rather than lying down. Elevate the head of your bed to approximately 6 inches higher than the foot of your bed. This helps keep stomach acids from moving up into your throat when you lie down. Otherwise, place pillows underneath your shoulders to try to keep that part of your body higher than your stomach.

Over-the-counter Medicines

Discuss over-the-counter medicines with your doctor. Normal antacids or acid reducers work to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach by introducing a base, such as bicarbonate, magnesium or calcium, into the stomach. Calcium-enriched antacids could, in fact, be good for your baby with added minerals to help your little one's bones develop. Liquid medicines may work better since they coat the lining of the esophagus and protect it from stomach acid. If over-the-counter medications seem to fail, your doctor may prescribe something stronger that is still safe to ingest during pregnancy.

Loose-fitting Clothes

Tight-fitting clothes make space in the abdomen even tighter and could worsen the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Wear loose-fitting maternity clothes so your belly can expand normally as you gain a healthy amount of weight. Plenty of designer fashions have maternity lines, so you can still find something fashionable to wear, even when you reach your final trimester.

Foods to Try

Chewing gum makes saliva more active in your mouth, which helps neutralize stomach acid. Ginger, in its many forms, may ease the symptoms of heartburn. Fresh ginger, candies made with ginger and ginger ale could all alleviate acid reflux.

Conclusion

Women may experience heartburn during pregnancy due to two main factors. First, the abdomen has less space in it due to an expanding uterus. Second, progesterone relaxes stomach muscles during pregnancy due to the hormone's effects on muscles surrounding the uterus. Pregnant women can take steps to decrease chances of heartburn with a few simple steps.

Sources

Health.com "12 ways to soothe heartburn in pregnancy" http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20527766,00.html
WebMD.com "Heartburn during pregnancy" http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/heartburn-during-pregnancy
BabyCenter.com "Heartburn during pregnancy - BabyCenter" http://www.babycenter.com/0_heartburn-during-pregnancy_242.bc

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