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How To Ease Heartburn In Pregnancy

Why Does It Happen In Pregnancy

How can I ease heartburn during pregnancy? – Reston Hospital Center

Many women who have heartburn during pregnancy have never had problems before. Unfortunately, if you had heartburn before becoming pregnant, youre more likely to have symptoms while you are pregnant. Although the exact reasons arent clear, most experts believe that pregnancy hormones, particularly progesterone, play a role. Hormones cause relaxation of the esophageal sphincter. This is a tight circular band of muscle at the top of the stomach. This allows partially digested food and stomach acids to backflow, or reflux, into the esophagus. In addition, progesterone also slows the digestive process. This keeps food in the stomach longer. The pregnancy itselfthe upward pressure of the growing uterusalso may play a role.

Medications To Treat Gerd During Pregnancy

Beyond the dietary and lifestyle measures listed above, safe antacids are the next step in treating GERD during pregnancy. The first-line medications that are safe to use during pregnancy include:

Dr. Ross explains that these medications help coat the esophagus, minimizing the burning sensation. They also help neutralize stomach acid. These medications should be taken 30 minutes before each meal and before bedtime for optimal results, or they can simply be taken on an as-needed basis.

If you find that you are taking large and frequent doses of the above medications to treat your GERD symptoms, you may need an acid reducing medication, such as the following treatments are also safe during pregnancy:

  • Tagamet
  • Zantac*Though ranitidine was previously recalled, Zantac is back on the market with the same active ingredient as Pepcid.

These are considered second-line medications. Antacids work more quickly and are less expensive. Many women with mild symptoms wont need to try Pepcid or Tagamet.

According to Dr. Garza, it is best to avoid sodium bicarbonate or aspirin containing antacids during pregnancy. For severe reflux cases requiring care beyond the safer medications listed above, it is best to talk with your healthcare professional. He or she may prescribe proton pump inhibitors if the medications above dont work. These popular medications, like Prilosec and Nexium , are also generally considered to be safe during pregnancy.

Ways You Can Relieve Heartburn

  • Eat smaller meals your digestion has slowed down so eating smaller meals more frequently may help along with drinking fluids between meals rather than during them.
  • Wait at least 3 hours before lying down Giving your body time to digest food before laying down may cut down on your heartburn.
  • Avoid acidic foods some food causes heartburn such as tomatoes, chocolate, citrus fruits, spicy food, and even carbonated drinks and caffeine.
  • Drink Milk by drinking milk or having some dairy it will help neutralize the acidity in your stomach, I used to drink a gallon of milk a day when I was pregnant to help calm the heartburn.
  • Wear comfortable loose clothing if your clothes are to tight it will put pressure on your stomach and make your heartburn worse, especially a tight bra .
  • Tea drinking chamomile tea with some honey may help calm your heartburn. My favorite is thisPink Storkheartburn lemon mint tea.
  • Sleep on the left side when trying to sleep at night, lay on your left side this helps so that your stomach is lower than your esophagus. For more information on pregnancy sleep, you may want to read this article on how to sleep while pregnant.
  • Eat slower allow your body to digest the food by not scarfing it down but rather chewing every bite slowly so your stomach isnt overloaded with food all at once.
  • Elevate Body have a pillow or something behind you to elevate your body at night.
  • Avoid Fatty Foods these are known to flair up stomach acid and cause heartburn.

Recommended Reading: Is Heartburn A Sign Of Stomach Cancer

Learn What Causes Heartburn For Youthen Avoid It

Fat, caffeine, chocolate, citruspregnant women with heartburn have been advised to avoid all of the above at one time or another. But what causes reflux in one woman might not be a trigger for another.

Rather than tell his pregnant patients to avoid a specific food, Dr. Richter says he advises them to stay away from foods that specifically aggravate them. Everybody’s different, Dr. Richter says. Some pregnant women can chow down on spicy Mexican food or a plate of spaghetti and meatballs with no ill effects.

What Is Acid Reflux During Pregnancy

5 Ways To Reduce Heartburn During Pregnancy

People use the terms heartburn and acid reflux to mean the same thing. But they have different definitions:

  • Acid reflux refers to the LES not tightening as it should. This allows the stomach acid to travel from your stomach up to your esophagus.
  • Heartburn, the feeling of pain or burning in your chest, is a symptom of acid reflux.

Women may have acid reflux during pregnancy and experience heartburn due to changing hormone levels and the baby growing.

Also Check: What Can You Do For Heartburn While Pregnant

Feeling The Burn Tips To Manage Heartburn Gerd In Pregnancy

    Heartburn is common in adults especiallyduring pregnancy. While some research suggests women who have moderateheartburn during pregnancy give birth to babies with fullerheads of hair, having symptoms more than twice a week might be asign of gastroesophageal reflux disease , or recurrent heartburn.

    According to a study of 510 pregnant women, approximately 26% have GERD symptomsduring the first trimester. The rate jumps to 36% in the second trimester and51% during the third trimester. Thats substantial compared with the 20% of adults in the U.S. who experienceheartburn.

    Why the increase in symptoms during pregnancy? Progesterone, a hormone that increases early in pregnancy, relaxessmooth muscle in the body. It helps your uterus stretch to accommodate thegrowing fetus, but also reduces the reliability of the esophageal sphincter aring-like structure that seals off stomach contents from the throat.

    Increased pressure placed on the stomachexternally from the growing uterus, especially in the third trimester, can alsoworsen heartburn symptoms such as:

    • Burning pain in the center of thechest, especially after eating
    • Sour or bitter taste in the mouth
    • Sore throat or cough

    Thankfully, thereare several pregnancy-safe ways to deal with acute heartburn and ongoing casesof GERD.

    How To Naturally Ease Heartburn In Pregnancy

    • Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day this is easier on your digestion than eating one big meal at a time. Larger meals cause more stomach distension, which can increase heartburn symptoms.
    • When you eat, slow down and make a conscious effort to thoroughly chew each bite of food. It seems simple, but this will take some of the burden off of your stomach and will allow food to digest more efficiently.
    • Avoid foods that are heartburn triggers. This can include spicy food, fatty foods, tomatoes, caffeine, chocolate, and citrus fruit. Find your own triggers by keeping a food journal so that you can identify which foods arent working for you and remove them from your diet.
    • Ginger is generally soothing on the digestive tract and may help reduce symptoms of heartburn. Try making ginger tea with fresh grated ginger and honey, and sip this approximately 20-30 minutes after meals.
    • Try to leave 2-3 hours between your last meal of the day and when you go to bed. If you need a snack before bed , then try to keep it small and free from any specific food triggers.
    • Make a point of sitting upright after meals instead of lying down so that gravity is working in your favour. This will help food and digestive juices move down your digestive system as they should, instead of coming back up.
    • Try using extra pillows at night to prop yourself up so that your head is a bit more elevated than the rest of your body.

    Read Also: Foods To Avoid With Reflux And Heartburn

    What Medications Are Safe To Take During Pregnancy

    Over-the-counter antacids such as Tums, Rolaids, and Maalox may help you cope with occasional heartburn symptoms. Those made of calcium carbonate or magnesium are good options.

    However, it may be best to avoid magnesium during the last trimester of pregnancy. Magnesium could interfere with contractions during labor.

    Most doctors recommend avoiding antacids that contain high levels of sodium. These antacids can lead to a buildup of fluid in the tissues.

    You should also avoid any antacids that list aluminum on the label, as in aluminum hydroxide or aluminum carbonate. These antacids can lead to constipation.

    Finally, stay away from medications like Alka-Seltzer that may contain aspirin.

    Ask your doctor for the best option. If you find yourself downing bottles of antacids, your heartburn may have progressed to gastroesophageal acid reflux disease . In that case, you may need a stronger treatment.

    Was It Something I Ate

    4 Steps to Relieve Heartburn in Pregnancy

    You expected the swollen ankles, the morning sickness, and the burgeoning breasts. But this burning indigestion? Whered that come from?

    As the name implies, heartburn feels like a fiery churning that starts behind your breastbone and travels up your esophagus, a tube connecting your throat to your stomach. These acids can even make it all the way up your throat.

    In addition to feeling a burning sensation which can last several minutes to several hours you may also:

    • feel bloated
    • have a sour taste in your mouth
    • have a sore throat
    • cough frequently

    While the burrito you ate for dinner probably didnt help matters , the burning feeling you have has more to do with hormones than jalapenos.

    45 percent of moms-to-be experience heartburn. And if you had heartburn before pregnancy, youre even more likely to have it during.

    Heartburn can fire up, so to speak, at any point in pregnancy, but its most common during the second and third trimesters. Experts arent exactly sure what causes the smoldering, but they suspect its a three-pronged problem.

    Recommended Reading: Why Do I Get Heartburn Every Time I Eat

    When Can I Expect Heartburn To End

    Someday, scientists may very well invent a miracle medication that promises permanent pregnancy heartburn relief. Unfortunately, that hasnt happened yet.

    So, if youre wondering how long you can expect to deal with heartburn while youre pregnant, it will probably be throughout your entire pregnancy.

    However, just because theres no cure, that doesnt mean you cant find some relief in the meantime.

    Checklist Of Foods To Avoid In Your Daily Diet

    I have mentioned earlier certain foods will alleviate the pregnancy symptoms indigestion and heartburn. The same sort of food which causes indigestion causes heartburn too.

    Unfortunately, pregnancy heartburn is the worst in the last trimester. So, the best way is to completely staying away from those foods even if it is your favorite.

    The list is as follows:

    • Chocolates
    • Caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee
    • Carbonated drinks
    • Tomato and store bought tomato products
    • Pickles

    Recommended Reading: What Can You Eat To Prevent Heartburn

    Also Check: Is Alka Seltzer Good For Heartburn

    Change Your Eating Habits

    Heartburn is one of the common complications caused during pregnancy and a few dietary changes like the timing of meals, frequency and portion sizes can help ease the symptoms.

    According Mayo Clinic, small meals throughout the day instead of three big meals, meals before three hours of sleeping, and brisk walk after meals can help reduce the pain and uneasiness caused by heartburn.

    Or Inquire About Proton Pump Inhibitors

    How to Treat Heartburn during Pregnancy

    If other medications don’t help, there are also proton pump inhibitors , such as Prevacid. These have a more powerful acid-suppressing effect than H2 blockers, and most are available over the counter.

    Although PPIs are, in general, safe for pregnant women, animal studies have raised concerns that omeprazole could harm a developing fetus, Dr. Richter says. “My recommendation to patients would be to avoid that one because there are about five or six out there on the market, with the H2 blockers,” he says. “All of them look to be safe during pregnancy.”

    Be sure to discuss any medications with your doctor.

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    What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy

    Causes of heartburn during pregnancy include:

    • Hormone levels changing: Your hormone levels change during pregnancy, affecting how you tolerate and digest foods. The hormones often slow down your digestive system. Food moves slower, causing bloating and heartburn.
    • Esophageal sphincter relaxing: Progesterone, known as the pregnancy hormone, can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. When it relaxes, stomach acid can move up into the esophagus.
    • Uterus enlarging: As your baby grows, your uterus gets bigger. It can crowd your stomach and push stomach acids upward, into your esophagus. Thats why heartburn is more common during the third trimester, the last few months of pregnancy. The baby and uterus are biggest then, crowding your other organs.

    Should I Be Worried About Heartburn During Pregnancy

    While heartburn isnt fun, it generally isnt a serious problem. However, pain in the abdomen or shoulder, which is sometimes mistaken for heartburn, can be a sign of preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication where the woman develops high blood pressure and signs of damage to the liver or kidneys, usually after 20 weeks. If your heartburn is sudden, doesnt go away, accompanies pain in the abdomen and up the back, and is really intense with severe pain, contact your health care provider or go to the hospital for emergency assessment, says Martin.

    Read more:

    Recommended Reading: Can Heartburn Come And Go

    Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd During Pregnancy

    Its called heartburn, although that burning feeling in your chest has nothing to do with the heart. Uncomfortable and frustrating, it bothers many women, particularly during pregnancy.

    The first question you may have is how to make it stop. You may also wonder if treatments are safe for your baby. Learn what causes heartburn during pregnancy and what you can do about it.

    How To Relieve Heartburn During Pregnancy

    How to relieve heartburn while pregnant. I Pregnancy tips.

    Heartburn often appears during the second trimester, and it can get worse as your belly grows. Learn more about what causes heartburn during pregnancy, with five expert tips for relieving the pain.

    Like the name implies, heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest but it has nothing to do with your heart. It happens when the lower esophageal sphincter , a muscle responsible for keeping stomach contents in their place, begins to relax or leak. This allows stomach acids to flow upward into the esophagus, explains Suzanne Trupin, M.D., CEO of Womenâs Health Practice of Champaign, Ill.

    Unfortunately, âmost women will experience some acid reflux , especially in the second half of their pregnancy,â says Shari Brasner, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City. The uncomfortable sensation tends to get worse as your baby grows.

    Heartburn usually appears after meals or at bedtime, and it can range from uncomfortable to agonizing. Understanding the causes and prevention strategies can provide relief to expectant moms. Heres what you need to know about heartburn in pregnancy.

    Read Also: What To Eat When You Have Severe Heartburn

    Read Also: What Medicine Can I Take For Heartburn

    Identify Any Trigger Foods

    To treat any heartburn or indigestion issues, you must first identify the underlying reason. Certain foods may have varying effects on various individuals. As a result, it is critical to determine which foods cause your heartburn and ingestion issues. Keeping a food diary to record what youve had for each meal as well as how you felt. This will help you narrow down any foods or beverages that make you feel sick. Chocolate, fruit juice, caffeine, chili, and oil are a few common culprits of heartburn and indigestion.

    Home Remedies To Manage Pregnancy Heartburn

    Easy to follow home remedies that can help prevent heartburn during pregnancy.

    According to the American Pregnancy Association, heartburn is a common complaint during pregnancy and there may be various underlying causes of the condition. Heartburn has nothing to do with the heart, but it is a burning sensation at the centre of the chest that is quite uncomfortable to live with.

    Heartburn and indigestion are more common pregnancy complications during the third trimester due to the increasing pressure on the stomach and intestine caused by the growing baby.

    Here are a few home remedies you can use to get rid of heartburn during pregnancy.

    Dont Miss: What Can I Take For Heartburn While Pregnant Besides Tums

    Recommended Reading: What Foods To Eat To Avoid Heartburn

    Other Causes Of Heartburn During Pregnancy:

    • Fatty foods, due to increased acid production
    • Spicy foods
    • Pre-existing medical conditions
    • Multiple pregnancies
    • H. Pylori is a bacteria that has been associated with stomach ulcers. This is mentioned here more for information purposes for individuals who have had stomach ulcers associated acid reflux. This is not a routine test done for heartburn, though it may be of interest to individuals who have had chronic stomach pain/ulcers.

    Since the hormonal and anatomic causes of heartburn during pregnancy cannot be avoided, the management of heartburn during pregnancy is by practicing prevention.

    Reducting esophageal sphincter relaxation and decreasing intrabdominal pressure.

  • Reducing the relaxation of the esophageal sphincter can be accomplished by avoiding foods that are known to relax the sphincter:
    • Peppermint

    2. Decreasing intrabdominal pressure during pregnancy is easier said than done. Here are some suggestions:

    • Dont lie flat during pregnancy, especially after eating.
    • Avoid lifting heavy objects or any activity that will strain your abdominal muscles. This increases the pressure in your abdomen and will cause gastric contents to reflux up into your esophagus.

    Treating Heartburn For Pregnant Women In Detail

    How to get rid of heartburn when pregnant naturally

    The treatment of heartburn for pregnant women is a question that pregnant women ask in medical centers and on the Internet and even for those who have been pregnant before, because the burning of the stomach for pregnant women is a stage that every pregnant woman goes through throughout her pregnancy and sometimes continues until the date of delivery and ends after birth.

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