Heartburn and Pregnancy
The Cause of Heartburn during Pregnancy
Heartburn occurs when the valve *sphincter” between the stomach and the esophagus are unable to prevent the stomach acids from passing back into the esophagus. Pregnancy can increase the frequency of heartburn because the hormone progesterone causes the valve to relax. Relaxation of the valve causes acid reflux. This allows the stomach acid to pass into the esophagus and irritate the lining. The acids in the stomach are like battery acid. The lining of the stomach can tolerate it, but not the esophagus.
The third trimester is when heartburn and indigestion begin, because the growing uterus puts pressure on the intestines and the stomach. The pressure on the stomach may also push contents back up into the esophagus; wearing tight clothing does not help either.
Treating Heartburn during Pregnancy
Trying to prevent heartburn from happening is the best way to tackle it!
• Eat five to six smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals
• Wait 4 hours after eating to lie down
• Avoid spicy, greasy and fatty foods
• Avoid alcohol and smoking
• Avoid citrus fruits
• Avoid caffeine and any product with caffeine in it.
• Avoid chocolate
• Drink plenty of water
If you are experiencing heartburn there are a few natural things you can do to relieve the symptoms:
• Eat yogurt or drink a glass of milk. Get plain yogurt and add a little peppermint extract to it!
• Try a tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm milk. Use low fat milk or honey in warm water.
• Try eating a banana or an apple. Bananas are the #1 fruit to calm acids in the stomach.
• Buy a pillow wedge at any department or mattress store and put it under your mattress, so that the head of your bed is elevated. Elevation will help the acids to stay in the stomach.
Over-the-counter antacids may prove helpful in relieving you of heartburn problems. Do not take over-the-counter antacids without speaking to your health care provider. Some antacids contain high levels of sodium, which can cause fluid buildup in body tissues and some may also contain lead.
If your heartburn symptoms are severe, your health care provider may prescribe medication for you.
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