Why Is Gerd Common During Pregnancy
GERD is practically a hallmark of pregnancy because changing hormone levels can affect the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. The hormone progesterone, producedin large amounts by the placenta, is a smooth muscle relaxant, according toHeather Johnson, MD, an OB-GYN at Reiter, Hill and Johnson of Advantia Health in the Washington, D.C. area. The relaxation of muscles in the digestive system also causes the lower esophageal sphincter muscles to relax. This allows stomach acid to more easily make its way into the esophagus. This, combined with the increasing size of the uterus in the second and third trimesters, pushes the stomach upward and intensifies uncomfortable symptoms. Hence, symptoms tend to worsen as the pregnancy progresses, Dr. Johnson notes.
Foods That Help With Heartburn During Pregnancy
There are certain foods that double as natural remedies for heartburn during pregnancy. Some of these home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy may work well for certain women but not for others. Find out what works best for you among these foods that help with heartburn during pregnancy.
- It is recommended to eat multiple small low-acid meals per day, and to avoid lying down during an hour of eating.
- Melons and bananas are good as they have low acid content.
- Fermented foods.
Foods that contain probiotics, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and tempeh, are incredibly beneficial for digestion. They are full of enzymes and they help to promote the secretion of digestive juices. This keeps things running smoothly and prevents problems like indigestion and heartburn.
- Green vegetables such as broccoli, beans.
- Bread, especially whole grain.
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.
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Try Out Tagamet For Longer Term Relief
Another option for longer term relief is a medication called Tagamet. This works in the same way as Zantac 75 and Pepcid, by blocking some acid production but mostly neutralizing the acid that is in the stomach. It is a longer term relief than the likes of TUMS and Maalox.
The benefit is that Tagamet as a category B rating. This is important for doctors as it means that it hasnt shown any signs of causing an unborn baby problems. It is more favorable than Prilosec, which has a category C rating.
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How Can I Deal With Heartburn During Pregnancy
Iâm in my second trimester. No matter what I eat, I get heartburn. Is this normal? If so, what can I do to feel better?Cari
Heartburn, despite its name, has nothing to do with the heart. Itâs a burning feeling in the throat and chest when the stomachâs contents move back up into the esophagus .
Heartburn is common during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can make the valve at the entrance to the stomach relax so that it doesnât close as it should. This lets acidic stomach contents move up into the esophagus, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux , or acid reflux. It can get worse later in pregnancy when the growing uterus presses up on the stomach.
To help ease heartburn pain:
- Skip foods and drinks that can make it worse, such as citrus spicy, fatty foods caffeine and carbonated drinks.
- Eat several small meals throughout the day.
- Take your time when eating.
- Drink liquids between not during meals.
- Avoid eating or drinking for 3 hours before bedtime.
- Resist the urge to lie down after meals.
- Raise your head when you sleep.
- Talk to your doctor about medicines that are safe to take for heartburn during pregnancy.
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Discuss H2 Blockers With Your Doctor
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.”
How Can I Prevent Heartburn During Pregnancy
They say prevention is the best medicine, so knowing common heartburn triggers can help you keep the acid at bay.
Of course, pregnancy itself is a major trigger for heartburn. As your growing uterus puts pressure on your stomach, this pushes stomach acid up your throat.
Those lovely hormones are no help either. They tend to relax the valve between your stomach and esophagus, which makes it easier for acid to make its way upward.
While theres nothing you can do to stop this entirely, there are a few things that can help prevent heartburn from flaring up during pregnancy:
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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.
When To Get Medical Help
See your midwife or GP if you need help managing your symptoms or if changes to your diet and lifestyle do not work. They may recommend medicine to ease your symptoms.
You should also see your midwife or GP if you have any of the following:
- difficulty eating or keeping food down
- weight loss
- stomach pains
Your midwife or GP may ask about your symptoms and examine you by pressing gently on different areas of your chest and stomach to see whether it’s painful.
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Pepcid Can Be Taken For Heartburn While Pregnancy
This medicine is usually prescribed for treating ulcers in the stomach. Also, it aids in balancing the acid amount inside the stomach as well as in the esophagus. It is ordinarily prescribed to those with GERD, which often occurs in pregnancy. It is a safe option for heartburn amid pregnancy as it has no side effects.
Avoiding Indigestion And Heartburn
If your symptoms are mild, it’s possible that changes to your diet or lifestyle may help prevent indigestion and heartburn. You could try:
- eating smaller meals, more often
- avoiding eating just before bed
- avoiding foods and drinks that you suspect give you heartburn
- not drinking a lot of coffee at the end of the day
- avoiding eating and drinking at the same time, which can make your stomach more full
- sitting up straight while eating, and not lying down after a meal
- chewing gum, which may cause you to produce more saliva to help neutralise the acid
- stop smoking
- raise the head of your bed by 10 to 15cm
- sleep on your left side
If your indigestion is not helped by diet and lifestyle changes, or your symptoms are more severe, your doctor or midwife may suggest that you take a medicine for indigestion that is safe to use during pregnancy. Medicines can neutralise the acid in your stomach, reduce the amount of acid produced by your stomach and stop the acid rising into your oesophagus.
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Heartburn Symptoms And Pre
If your heartburn symptoms don’t go away with medicine, it’s important to see your doctor as it may be a sign of something more serious, such as pre-eclampsia. A pregnant woman with pre-eclampsia usually has high blood pressure and problems with her kidneys. Pre-eclampsia could also seriously affect a woman’s liver, blood and brain. Any pregnant woman can experience pre-eclampsia â almost 1 in 20 Australian women will develop it.
Because pre-eclampsia is dangerous for both you and your baby, you should let your doctor know if your heartburn medicine is not working. This is especially important if you’re also feeling very unwell or you have:
- sudden swelling of your hands, feet or face
- a headache that doesn’t go away with simple painkillers
- problems with your eyesight such as blurring or seeing flashing lights or dots
- a strong pain below your ribs
Find out more about how pre-eclampsia is treated here.
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.
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How To Treat Heartburn During Pregnancy
For many people, pregnancy can cause different problems and heartburn is one of them.
Uncomfortable and frustrating, heartburn can make you forget about the pleasure of being pregnant as your mind becomes occupied by the pain and burning sensation in your chest.
There are two main causes of heartburn during pregnancy the ongoing hormonal changes in the body and the increasing pressure on the stomach from the growing womb.
The hormonal changes in the body can cause the muscles in the esophagus to relax more frequently. This allows stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus, especially when youre lying down to take a nap or after youve eaten a large meal.
With each passing day, your uterus expands to accommodate the growth of your baby. This means your stomach is under more pressure, which also results in food and acid being pushed back up into your esophagus.
Its common to have heartburn during the first and third trimesters, but it doesnt mean you have to just bear with it throughout your pregnancy.
While medicines are not recommended for pregnancy-related heartburn as they can have lasting effects on the unborn baby, there are many simple things that can help you deal with this problem and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Here are the top 10 ways to treat heartburn during pregnancy.
Was It Something I Ate
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.
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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.
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:
- 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.
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Why Does It Happen In Pregnancy
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.
Heartburn During Pregnancy Remedies
Preventing heartburn is the best way to deal with it! Here are some helpful tips for avoiding heartburn:
- Eat five to six smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals
- Wait an hour after eating to lie down
- Avoid spicy, greasy, and fatty foods
If you are experiencing heartburn, there are a few natural ways to relieve the symptoms:
- Eat yogurt or drink a glass of milk
- Try a tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm milk
Over-the-counter antacids may prove helpful in relieving your heartburn, but do not take antacids without speaking to your healthcare provider. Some antacids contain high levels of sodium, which can cause fluid buildup in body tissues. Some also contain aluminum, which is not considered safe for pregnancy.
If your heartburn is severe, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication for you.
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What Makes It Better
For most women, things that help reduce acid production or prevent reux are helpful in avoiding the discomfort of heartburn. Here are tips that may help:
Avoid classic spicy foods, as well as those with lots of fat or grease. Many people recommend avoiding citrus and chocolate, as well.
Eat multiple, small meals spread throughout the day, much like grazing, instead of three big meals.
Try elevating the head of your bed by several inches, and wait a while after eating before going to bed or lying down.
Some women find that its better to drink fluids between meals, rather than with a meal. This can increase the amount of contents in the stomach.
If your symptoms do not improve after the above recommended diet and lifestyle changes are in place, talk with your healthcare provider about over-the-counter medicines. Antacids are available as chewable tablets and liquids. They work by coating the lining of the esophagus and stomach and neutralizing stomach acid. Heartburn medicines called H2-blockers work by reducing the amount of acid made by your stomach. Although most of these are considered safe in pregnancy, as with all medicines, these should be avoided in the first trimester.
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.
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Pregnancy Glow And Acne During Early Pregnancy
Many people may begin saying you have the pregnancy glow. The combination of increased blood volume and higher hormone levels pushes more blood through your vessels. This causes the bodys oil glands to work overtime.
The increased activity of your bodys oil glands gives your skin a flushed, glossy appearance. On the other hand, you may also develop acne.
in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that taking a home pregnancy test at this point will give a more accurate result.
Home pregnancy tests are inexpensive and widely available without a prescription in pharmacies and other stores.
You can take a test earlier than this if you want, but you run the risk of getting a false negative result. This means the test may say youre not pregnant, but in fact you are.
If you take a home pregnancy test too early, there may not be enough hCG in your urine yet for the test to detect it. Home pregnancy tests work by testing the amount of hCG in your urine. This is a hormone thats only present in the blood and urine of pregnant people.
Also, every persons body chemistry is a bit different. One person may get a positive result as early as a day after their period, while another persons positive results may not show up for another week. So, early test results may not be the most accurate.
Unlike at-home urine tests, blood tests are usually done in a clinical setting. Contact your doctor if you want this type of test.