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How To Manage Heartburn During Pregnancy

Discuss H2 Blockers With Your Doctor

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

If an antacid isn’t working, it may be time to consider stronger medications.

Your first option will likely be an H2 blocker like Tagamet or Zantac. These drugs suppress stomach-acid production. All four H2 inhibitors on the market are now available without a prescription and considered to be safe during pregnancy. But talk to your doctor before taking them.

“They really work,” says Einarson. “You only have to take one or two a day.”

What Should You Know About Heartburn

A Woman with Heartburn Symptoms

Heartburn is a symptom that feels like a burning in your chest, and is a symptom of acid reflux .

Do most people get heartburn?

Heartburn is more common during pregnancy. Most people get heartburn after meals, but can also awaken people while they are sleeping. People also may experience heartburn after eating specific foods or drinking certain beverages.

What can heartburn be a sign or symptom of?

Symptoms of acid reflux that may accompany heartburn include

  • difficulty swallowing,
  • regurgitation of foods or liquids with a taste of acid in the throat, and
  • persistent hoarseness or laryngitis.

How can you tell if you are having a heart attack or heartburn?

  • If you think that you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately to save your life.
  • A heart attack and heartburn can have the same symptoms, for example, be the same, for example, heartburn is a symptom of another disease or condition, for example, chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea and vomiting.
  • Heart attack signs and symptoms that are not the same as in heartburn include, for example, dizziness, toothache, and headache while heartburn symptoms include problems swallowing, persistant sore throat, hoarseness, laryngitis or reflux laryngitis.

How can you get rid of heartburn?

Heartburn can be relieved and cured for many people with lifestyle changes, for example,

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What Is Acid Reflux 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.

Read Also: How Can You Get Rid Of Heartburn

Symptoms Of Indigestion And Heartburn

Symptoms of indigestion and heartburn include:

  • a burning sensation or pain in the chest
  • feeling full, heavy or bloated
  • burping or belching
  • feeling or being sick
  • bringing up food

Symptoms usually come on soon after eating or drinking, but there can sometimes be a delay between eating and developing indigestion.

You can get symptoms at any point during your pregnancy, but they are more common from 27 weeks onwards.

What Should I Know About Dealing With Heartburn While Pregnant

  • When and why heartburn occurs during pregnancy
  • Nutritional tips to help minimize and prevent heartburn
  • Tips to help manage heartburn

During pregnancy, youre likely to experience new-to-you side effects of growing a baby and all of the hormonal changes that come along with it. One of those common side effects, experienced by up to 50% of pregnant women, is heartburn.1,2

Despite its name, heartburn actually has nothing to do with the heart but rather is a burning pain in the chest or throat caused by acid reflux.3

What are symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy?

You may experience all or some of the following reflux symptoms:

  • Burning or pain in your chest
  • Burping frequently
  • Burning in your throat3,4,5

Why does heartburn occur during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, fluctuating hormones, especially progesterone, can cause the valve between the stomach and esophagus to relax, allowing digested food and stomach acid to regurgitate back up into the esophagus.2,6

This acid reflux causes a burning sensation in the chest, thus the name heartburn.

Pregnancy hormones also slow down the muscles of the digestive tract which can make heartburn worse, potentially leading to indigestion, gas, bloating, and constipation.7,8 As if this wasnt enough, your growing baby may change the position of your stomach, which can alter the angle of your digestive organs, further exacerbating the problem.9

Read more: What You Can Do to Manage Constipation

When will I experience pregnancy heartburn?

Read Also: Why Does Stress Cause Heartburn

Why Is Heartburn Common During Pregnancy

During pregnancy hormone levels in your body fluctuate, and this includes an increase in progesterone, a type of sex hormone, and also relaxin, which allows the ligaments in your pelvis to stretch. The side effect of an increase in these hormones is that they allow the valve between your stomach and food pipe to relax. This allows stomach acid to re-enter the food-pipe a little more easily, triggering heartburn.

Later in pregnancy, the weight of your growing baby and uterus can mean there is more pressure against your stomach, which further opens the valve.

Whilst heartburn is extremely uncomfortable, it is not normally dangerous to you or your baby.

However, if you are experiencing heartburn on an ongoing basis, chat with your doctor as they may be able to support you with specialised advice.

Prevention Of Heartburn During Pregnancy

Some tips that may help you cut down on heartburn during your pregnancy include:

  • Eat several small meals each day instead of three large ones.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Avoid fried, spicy, or rich foods or any foods that seem to cause relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and increase the risk of heartburn.
  • Donât smoke tobacco or drink alcohol, which can make heartburn symptoms worse.
  • Drink less while eating. Drinking large amounts while eating may increase the risk of acid reflux and heartburn.
  • Don’t lie down directly after eating.
  • Keep the head of your bed higher than the foot of your bed. Or place pillows under your shoulders to help prevent stomach acids from rising into your esophagus.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing. Tight-fitting clothes can increase the pressure on your stomach and abdomen.
  • Try to avoid constipation.

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Heartburn Medication To Avoid During Pregnancy

Talk to your doctor before taking any antacids. Some contain ingredients that may harm you or your baby. Be sure to not to take these medications:

Ranitidine. In 2020, the FDA stopped sales of an H2 blocker called ranitidine because it was contaminated with a cancer-causing agent. If you take OTC ranitidine, stop your use. If you have a prescription for ranitidine, talk to your doctor about other options before you stop your medication.

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When To Call The Doctor

Management of heartburn during pregnancy – Dr. Rashmi Chaudhary

If heartburn symptoms are associated withheadaches or swelling of the hands and face, talk with your provider beforetrying these remedies, especially if the symptoms are new and present in thelast trimester of pregnancy.

Heartburn-like paincan be a symptom of preeclampsia, or dangerously high bloodpressure during pregnancy. Preeclampsia puts mothers and babies at risk, andfurther evaluation may be necessary.

As mentioned,heartburn is very common in pregnancy. If your symptoms dont resolve with dietchanges or medication, let your provider know so you can find an effectivetreatment.

Also Check: What Food Or Drink Helps With Heartburn

Heres What Other Mamas Have To Say About Relieving Heartburn During Pregnancy Naturally

I asked the moms on my Facebook page about their go-to natural remedies for pregnancy heartburn, and here is a sample of their responses.

  • Apple cider vinegar, pickle juice, digestive enzymes! Katie Keepman
  • An apple in the morning and right before bed. Elsa Silva
  • It may sound weird, but I would either drink a little pickle juice, or eat a spoonful of peanut butter and within about 5-10 minutes was gone. Jessica Fields
  • Baking soda in a little bit of water helped! Was it gross? A little, but still more enjoyable than heartburn! Erin M. Strand
  • Maybe not the healthiest, but I always had ginger snaps next to my bed. I ate one or two at night for the heartburn and another one or two in the morning for the nausea. Sarah Gilroy
  • I didnt treat my heartburn with any natural remedies, but did learn that bad heartburn can often present itself as nausea/morning sickness! Women who experiences bad nausea/MS should consider your remedies as well! Renee Jillian
  • So far, wearing hazelwood helps some. Not perfect, but helps a little. Susan Miller
  • I had heard to eat a few green olives. So when a pregnant friend was needing relief, I suggested her to try itand it works!!! Shawna Beaubien
  • Liquid slippery elm works instantly! Ashly Burke-Goike

Eat Smaller Meals Throughout The Day

Gastric emptying is also slowed by the progesterone hormone. Eating a large meal will stay in your stomach longer and allow more time for acid reflux to occur.

Try to eat 5 or 6 small meals a day. Do not overload your stomach when you eat. Avoid greasy, fatty, and fried foods whenever possible.

Due to a simple lack of space in your stomach, as you progress into your third trimester, your stomach will be compressed and not be able to hold as much.

Coupled with the slower emptying time and progesterone effects mentioned above, eating a large meal might not only cause you painful indigestion, it may not even stay down!

This is the same advice we give if you are fighting morning sickness. Eating small meals reduces your chances of reflux and nausea during pregnancy.

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When To See Your Doctor

If you are suffering from persistent heartburn that isn’t relieved by any of the natural methods above, you may need to take medication. However, before taking any tablets during pregnancy, it’s advisable to speak to your midwife, GP or a pharmacist for advice. Whilst the right antacid may ease symptoms, some may interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients such as iron, or interact with other medications.

Doctors also recommend avoiding antacids that contain magnesium during the third trimester of pregnancy, as this mineral may interfere with contractions.

Burning Sensation In Chest And Throat

This is of course, the commonest symptom that one experiences while having heartburn during pregnancy, or at anytime for that matter. This is especially worse while lying down. Thus, the head should be propped up with pillows to keep it at a higher level than the feet. Also, spicy and rich foods should be avoided during pregnancy as much as possible, so as to keep heartburn away.

Also Check: Reasons Why You Get Heartburn

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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.

Add Fiber To Your Diet

Adding fiber-rich foods is an essential part of treating and avoiding heartburn. The recommended amount of fiber in an adult diet is 25-35 grams per day.

If you are pregnant, you might benefit from adding another 15% per day.

Foods that are rich in fiber include whole grains, popcorn, and raw vegetables. Fiber supplements can also be added to your diet but be sure that they do not contain laxative chemicals.

A regular exercise routine can be very helpful in preventing heartburn after meals.

Activities such as walking, swimming, and cycling can help speed up gastric emptying.

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What Can I Eat That Wont Give Me Heartburn While Pregnant

The good news is you can eat a lot of things that wont cause heartburn symptoms while pregnant. The important question really is, says Dr. Johnson, what should you not eat if you have GERD? There is actually a relatively short list of foods to avoid, including alcohol, chocolate, citrus juices, tomato-based products, peppermint, coffee, and fatty foods.

How To Avoid Heartburn During Pregnancy

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Management During Pregnancy

Heartburn or indigestion may not be new for you. You may have had it during your first trimester and then it went away. But now, it’s back. And you’re likely wondering why.

Many pregnant women have heartburn at some point. The hormone progesterone relaxes the ring-like sphincter at the base of your esophagus. This normally closes off entry to the stomach. When it doesnt close, food mixed with digestive enzymes can back up into your esophagus. The result: irritation and a burning sensation in your chest. And in the third trimester, you can also feel full because your growing uterus is putting pressure on your stomach.

Read Also: Does Orange Juice Cause Heartburn

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.

Benefit Of Milk For Heartburn

Heartburn is common in many people life, does milk for heartburn ease the symptoms especially cows milk is often said to help the condition. Some evidence is there about protein and calcium is milk being able to alleviate heartburn.

  • Calcium carbonate can neutralize stomach acids, and is often a top ingredient in antacids. It can also improve muscular function, thus possibly helping avoid heartburn.
  • Protein in milk can stimulate the secretion of gastrin, the hormone that boosts LES contraction and encourages gastric emptying, making less food available for backflow.

Thus, milk can be useful for preventing heartburn in some people due to the presence of calcium and protein.

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Tips To Manage Pregnancy Symptoms

A womans body undergoes several physical and emotional changes during pregnancy, a transformational period. Morning sickness or nausea is a typical experience, especially during the first trimester. Other common changes during pregnancy include back pain, breast tenderness, constipation, fatigue, frequent urination, heartburn and leg cramps. These changes can be present in one or two trimesters of pregnancy, in all three trimesters or not at all.

Most pregnant women claim their memory worsens during pregnancy. However, the so-called pregnancy brain has not been proven to exist. Memory problems may be attributed to lack of sleep, fatigue or simply thinking too much. Motherhood is, after all, a very life-changing process, says Dr Wee Wei-Wei, Consultant, Minimally Invasive Surgery Centre, KK Womens and Childrens Hospital , a member of the SingHealth group.

Dr Wee explains how you can cope with ten of the common physical and emotional changes during pregnancy:

1. Back pain

Back pain usually occurs during the second and third trimesters. It is usually worse in the third trimester due to the distending uterus and the weight of the pregnancy.

What you can do: Have plenty of rest and wear proper walking shoes. If you cant bear the back pain, simple analgesia such as paracetamol may suffice.

2. Breast tenderness

Hormonal changes can cause the breasts to feel heavier and tender.

3. Constipation

4. Fatigue

5. Mood swings

6. Frequent urination

7. Heartburn

8. Leg cramps

Acidity During Pregnancy First Trimester

Back to progesterone, remember we are talking about progesterone and how it relaxes that cardiac sphincter at the top of your stomach. This hormone relaxes your smooth muscle tissue. It relaxes the muscle walls of the uterus and other muscle tissue as well. And while that ultimately is going to make it easier for your pregnancy to progress, it doesnt, fortunately, have that effect on the cardiac sphincter as well and it can slow down all of your digestion.

Making it kind of sluggish because the muscles of the stomach, the small and large intestines as well are not moving things along at the normal pace. So that can be a factor with the heartburn as well and if youre thinking that that may be one of the reasons youre also experiencing constipation, you are correct. So if thats whats happening, what can you do about it? Well, first lets cover the simple stuff and hopefully, this will be all you need.

Also Check: How To Avoid Heartburn And Indigestion

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 Causes Heartburn In Pregnancy

  • Change in hormone level is one of the reasons behind heartburn.
  • The increase in the size of the uterus causes more pressure on your stomach which leads to heartburn.
  • The relaxing of the lower oesophageal sphincter acts as a gate between your stomach and your esophagus, allowing stomach acid to leak back up.
  • You are more at risk particularly during their second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

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