Why Exactly Does Pregnancy Cause Heartburn
Heartburn during pregnancy will plague most moms-to-be at some point because progesterone, the hormone that relaxes muscles in pregnancy, also relaxes the stomach valve that keeps acid out of the esophagus. In addition, the growing uterus crowds the stomach, forcing acid into the esophagus.
But there are safe, effective ways to stop it. “Pregnant women really don’t need to suffer with heartburn anymore,” says Adrienne Einarson, RN, assistant director of clinical services at Motherisk, a Toronto-based program that investigates the effects of prenatal exposures on maternal and fetal health. Here, experts recommend 12 different ways to soothe heartburn during pregnancy.
Consider Maalox For Your Immediate Heartburn Relief
If youre still struggling to find something that will help to relieve your heartburn, you could consider Maalox. This is very similar to TUMs and offers immediate relief. Its commonly suggested to patients who have too much stomach acid or are commonly bloated or have issues with belching.
The medication works by breaking up bubbles in the body. It also neutralizes the existing stomach acid. The downside is that it doesnt prevent the problem from occurring again.
This is one of the most debated options when it comes to heartburn relief. There is some aluminum in the medication, which can be harmful to the baby in large amounts. You need to follow the instructions given by your doctor or pharmacist to keep your unborn baby safe.
What Causes Heartburn In Pregnancy
But whyyyyyy you may be moaning, as you clutch your throat. Unfortunately, you cant point to just one causeexperts generally believe that its a combination of factors, including those pregnancy hormones that may decrease the pressure of the valve separating your stomach from your esophagus.
But you also have to consider that when youre pregnant, your body is expanding, most notably in your abdomen. As your baby grows, your uterus grows, too. And as your uterus swells, it pushes against your stomach, causing an increase in intraabdominal pressurethat causes reflux.
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Diagnosis In The Pregnant Patient
As in the non-pregnant patient, the initial diagnosis of GERD in pregnancy can reliably be made based on symptoms alone. Barium radiographs are not necessary and should be avoided because of radiation exposure to the fetus. Oesophageal manometry and pH studies are rarely necessary during pregnancy but can be performed safely. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is the procedure of choice to evaluate intractable reflux symptoms or complications. This procedure can be safely performed without harm to the mother or fetus by carefully monitoring blood pressure and oxygen and judicious use of conscious sedation and fetal monitoring., , Midazolam and diazepam are category D, fentanyl is category C and meperidine and propofol are category B drugs during pregnancy . Although not approved by the FDA for these indications during pregnancy, clinical experience suggests that these medications are safe with appropriate monitoring, particularly after the first trimester.,
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Slippery Elm Bark And Marshmallow Root
Some mamas find relief from mucilaginous herbs like slippery elm bark and marshmallow root. Due to their gummy consistency, they coat the intestines and soothe digestion. Be sure to use under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner and away from food and supplementsthey can interfere with nutrient absorption.
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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.
Look Out For Medication With Magnesium Oxide
The heartburn medicines that include magnesium oxide are good for pregnancy. They will increase the amount of magnesium in your system to help limit the production of stomach acid and reduce the flare up of your heartburn.
Look out for those in tablet form and use as little water as possible. When you swallow any type of liquid, you will start the acid production in your stomach. By keeping the water to as little as possible, the tablets can just get to work on your system.
Antacids with magnesium in it will neutralize the acidic effects. It doesnt affect any other part of your body, so your baby isnt going to be affected.
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Pregnancy Itself Ups Your Risk Of Heartburn
Normally, there are certain factors like your weight, whether you smoke, and your genes that can increase your likelihood of heartburn. But when you’re pregnant, it’s the pregnancy itself that makes you more susceptible.
“There are two main factors,” says Renee Wellenstein, DO, who is a double board-certified OB-GYN. One that’s hormonal and one that’s physical.
Heartburn is caused by acid reflux, when food and digestive fluids, which contain acids, back up in your esophagus and create that uncomfortable burn. That backup can happen when you’re pregnant because you have higher-than-usual progesterone levels, which can one slow digestion and two relax the muscle, called the esophageal sphincter, that separates your esophagus and stomach.
Combined, these two factors create the perfect storm for heartburn because the slow digestion can lead to more backup in your esophagus and the relaxed muscle makes it easier for acid to creep through.
“The other factor is the growing uterus that physically pushes up on the stomach as it grows,” says Wellenstein.
As a result, heartburn does tend to get worse throughout pregnancy. Fortunately, all those changes to your body that cause heartburn during pregnancy quickly disappear after you give birth. So, at least that’s something you can look forward to leaving behind at the hospital when you bring your newborn home.
How To Relieve Heartburn During Pregnancy
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 Women’s Health Practice of Champaign, Ill.
Unfortunately, “most women will experience some acid reflux , especially in the second half of their pregnancy,” 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.
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Ask Your Doctor About Prevacid
Prevacid is one of the recommended longer term options for heartburn/ heartburn medicine. It blocks the production of acid, but it doesnt offer the immediate relief. This is often recommended for those who suffer heartburn regularly, such as more than two days a week.
It is a category B heartburn medicine / medication, which means there are no known risks to a baby. Your doctor may not recommend it if you have liver disease or are deficient in magnesium. You will be recommended some of the above options.
Reduce The Risk Of Infant Atopic Eczema And Food Allergies
Eczema, recognized by red, itchy patches of skin, is a precursor to a variety of other conditions such as food allergies and asthma, so reducing or preventing it is very important.
We know that differences in a babys microbiome link to increased allergy risks, and research is supporting the use of probiotics to prevent eczema.
A large Meta-analysis reported that pregnant women given probiotics during as well as the initial postpartum period reduced eczema by 22%.
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When Can I Expect The Heartburn To End During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, heartburn is a symptom you’re likely to experience throughout your entire pregnancy if you have it at all.
In fact, even if you escaped indigestion early on in your pregnancy, there’s a good chance you’ll have a surge starting around the second or third trimesters, when your uterus takes over your abdominal cavity and forces your stomach upwards.
Fortunately, the burn should clear up as soon as you give birth.
Antacids You Shouldnt Take
You should always read the labels and ask your doctor before using OTC medicines, herbs, or home remedies while youre pregnant. Even though it may seem like something should be safe, it isnt always. Some conventional treatments for heartburn that you shouldnt use during pregnancy are:
- Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Products containing aspirin
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Drink Some Lukewarm Ginger Tea
Hot tea is going to make your heartburn worse. One of the most popular herbal remedies for heartburn is lukewarm ginger tea. The ginger will help to settle the acid and re-balance the body, while the lukewarm water helps to counter against the heat of the heartburn. Get some GingerTea from here best for pregnancy.
Youll also find that the ginger tea balances an upset stomach. Its perfect throughout pregnancy, but do avoid drinking too much. There are concerns that too much can cause a miscarriage, but there are still studies looking into this.
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 Get Rid Of Heartburn During Pregnancy Fast
You never know when or where heartburn may strike. Its a good idea to keep some emergency heartburn-relief remedies in your handbag in case youre caught off guard.
Keep a small stash of the following items on you at all times:
- A teabag of your favorite heartburn-relieving herbal tea
Calcium-containing antacids such as Tums or Rolaids .
During pregnancy, the stomach has prolonged gastric emptying times and the gastroesophageal sphincter has decreased tone. Together, these changes lead to reflux and possibly combine with decreased esophageal tone to cause ptyalism, or spitting, during pregnancy as well as reflux and heartburn.
How To Avoid Heartburn 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.
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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
Navigate Your Way Around Pregnancy Medications
Its difficult to know what you can and cant take during pregnancy. Not all medications are completely off limits, but there are a few that are questionable. When it comes to antacids and other heartburn relief remedies, you want to watch out for anything that includes aspirin or baking soda. They can be dangerous to your baby.
Natural remedies are by far the best types of medications you can take. They are safe and can be used with each other. If you are still struggling, look for those that give you immediate relief and always follow the directions. However, your doctor will be able to prescribe or recommend longer term options if your heartburn has manifested into GERD due to your pregnancy.
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List Of Best Foods For Preventing Pregnancy Heartburn
Usually, your specialist might prescribe antacids that promote a soothing and cool feel.
Besides, you might need to alter your lifestyle to reduce the acid-burning sensation.
This includes changing the frequency and times of your meals. You may have to ditch spicy stuff and incorporate more clean and natural foods.
Dont know where to start? No worries!
Begin with these 25 must-have foods to prevent pregnancy heartburn. Plus, Ive included tips on how to consume each food safely.
Is It Okay To Take Nexium While Pregnant
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration has categorized Nexium in the pregnancy category B. This category indicates Nexium is generally considered safe to use while pregnant. However, there have been some reports of fetal re-absorption and lethality in the embryo in animal studies. In these studies, animals were given between five to 56 times more Nexium than the average human dose.
Before using Nexium for acid reflux, schedule a meeting with your doctor to determine if using this medication while pregnant is safe for you and the growing fetus.
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Is There A Remedy For Heartburn During Pregnancy
Im 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 which, despite its name, has nothing to do with the heart is a common pregnancy complaint.
Many pregnant women experience a burning sensation in the throat and chest when the stomach contents move back up into the esophagus . This may be because hormones cause the valve at the entrance to the stomach to relax so that it doesnt close properly, allowing acidic stomach contents to move upward into the esophagus, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux , or acid reflux. It can get worse later in the pregnancy when the growing uterus presses upward on the stomach.
To help minimize the discomfort of heartburn:
- Steer clear of certain foods and drinks that can make it worse citrus spicy, fatty foods caffeine and carbonated drinks.
- Eat several small meals throughout the day.
- Take your time when eating.
- Drink fluids between not during meals.
- Avoid eating or drinking for 3 hours before bedtime.
- Resist the urge to lie down after meals.
- Elevate your head when sleeping.
- Talk to your doctor about medications that can safely be taken for heartburn during pregnancy.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MDDate reviewed: April 2014
Note: All information on KidsHealth is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
How To Treat Pregnancy Heartburn Naturally
While you can’t completely prevent heartburn during pregnancy, there are ways you can minimize how often it happens and reduce the severity when it strikes.
Below are seven tips from Wellenstein, Sridhar, and experts from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
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