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What Helps Relieve Heartburn During Pregnancy

How Can I Deal With Heartburn During Pregnancy

Natural Heartburn Prevention During Pregnancy

I’m 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. It’s a burning feeling in the throat and chest when the stomach’s 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 doesn’t 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.

Ways To Relieve Acid Reflux Without Medication

Image: Bigstock

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if youve had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valveyour lower esophageal sphincter. Thats the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesnt close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburnpain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like youre having a heart attack.

Three conditionspoor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptyingcontribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Womans Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If youve been having repeated episodes of heartburnor any other symptoms of acid refluxyou might try the following:

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.

Want to Know More?

Read Also: Does Breast Cancer Cause Heartburn

Easy Ways To Soothe Heartburn During Pregnancy

PintrestpregnancyWhat causes heartburn during pregnancy?Eat small and frequent mealsRecognise and eliminate trigger foodsHave more fluidsSit or stand after a mealDo not eat right before bedDisclaimer: The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Please consult your treating physician for more details.

Heartburn Medication To Avoid During Pregnancy

Pin on Early pregnancy tips

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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How To Prevent Heartburn In Pregnancy

For most women, heartburn starts in pregnancy. And, there are plenty of ways on how you can avoid or prevent experiencing heartburn when pregnant. Importantly, you should focus more on how and what you eat. Consider practicing these few tips

  • Eat smaller amounts of meals throughout the day
  • Stay hydrated always – avoid drinking lots of water at the same time.
  • Avoid eating a few hours before sleeping
  • Always stay/sit upright after eating – lying down usually exerts pressure on the stomach forcing the stomach contents back up
  • Use a pillow when sleeping
  • Avoid eating cold foods

While heartburn shouldn’t get you worried a lot if you experience sudden heartburn or the heartburn persists, or severe symptoms, then it can be as a result of a serious problem, and therefore you should seek immediate health care attention.

Otherwise, if you are confident that there is no underlying problem causing your heartburn, now you know what to drink for heartburn during pregnancy. In most cases, the heartburn is said to disappear after childbirth.

Use A Pregnancy Pillow

With a growing bump, finding comfortable sleeping positions can get significantly challenging. Furthermore, for pregnant women who seasoned back sleepers and stomach sleepers, adhering to the recommended side sleeping position can prove to be an even more impossible challenge.

Here, a pregnancy pillow can come in quite handy. Pregnancy pillows like the Slumbar Bump pregnancy pillow provide extra cushioning that can significantly increase your comfort level and ease your transition to side sleeping.

The right pregnancy pillow should provide the extra support you need around your belly, knees, and ankles, ensuring you get the best sleep possible.

Read More:

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Change Your Eating And Drinking Habits

You may be able to control your indigestion with changes to your eating habits.

It can help to eat small meals often, rather than larger meals 3 times a day, and to not eat within 3 hours of going to bed at night.

Cutting down on drinks containing caffeine, and foods that are rich, spicy or fatty, can also ease symptoms.

Pregnancy Itself Ups Your Risk Of Heartburn

Heartburn during pregnancy

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.

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Or Inquire About Proton Pump Inhibitors

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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Eat Bananas To Get Rid Of Heartburn

Bananas can be categorized as natural antacids as they lessen the effect of your acid reflux. This is enough a reason to have the tasty banana for getting relief from heartburn. High on potassium which is an alkalizing mineral with a pH of 14, banana helps in moderating the acidity of your stomach by increasing its pH. Higher the pH, lower is the acidity. However, you need to eat a ripe, preferably overripe banana because the bananas that are green or are not overripe contain potassium in the form of potassium nitrate and this can actually make your heartburn more painful. Potassium is not the only reason for bananas being such a good remedy for heartburn. Bananas also have such a chemical that stimulates your stomach lining and thus it produces more mucus to act as a buffer against acid.

Get this:

  • This will keep your heartburn away.

Read Also: Best Foods To Fight Heartburn

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.

Diet Nutrition And Lifestyle

How to Relieve Heartburn During Pregnancy

What and how you eat can make all the difference with heartburn during pregnancy.

Try:

  • Eating smaller meals throughout the day
  • Making your main meal at lunchtime, which takes pressure off the digestive tract later in the day when the body is tired or ready for bed
  • Avoiding food a couple hours before bed or a nap
  • Sitting upright after eatinglying down can push stomach contents back up
  • Propping your head up with a couple of pillows while sleeping

Avoid:

  • Tight fitting clothes. They put even more pressure on your organs.
  • Liquids while you eat. This dilutes your digestive juices, making them less effective.
  • Eating the following aggravating acidic foods:
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated and sugar beverages, like tea, coffee, soda, etc.
  • Onions
  • Spicy, fatty, rich, and fried foods
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Large quantities of meat in one sittingthe body works harder if overloaded or too rich
  • Iron supplements, since they can cause heartburn. Check with your doctor to see if changing to a liquid supplement might be an option.
  • Again, adding and subtracting certain foods and behaviors daily will help build a more balanced foundation for your wellness.

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    Otc Medications May Also Help

    If changes to your lifestyle and diet don’t work, that’s when doctors may recommend medication.

    • Antacids:Most antacids are considered safe in pregnancy and are compatible with breastfeeding,” Sridhar says. Antacids are OTC medications like Rolaids, Tums, and Maalox. And while they may be OTC, if you’re pregnant, you should consult your doctor before taking them.
    • H2 blockers: If antacids don’t work, a doctor may prescribe H2 blockers like Pepcid. H2 blockers can relieve heartburn because they help you produce less hydrochloric acid in your stomach, thereby preventing heartburn before it even starts.
    • Proton Pump Inhibitors: If antacids and H2 blockers don’t work, your doctor may prescribe proton pump inhibitors like Nexium or Prevacid.

    Tips For How To Get Rid Of Pregnancy Heartburn

    For most women, heartburn and pregnancy go hand in hand. Pregnancy hormones are notorious for causing your lower esophageal sphincter the valve that separates your stomach and your esophagus to weaken. As your precious little one starts to grow your abdominal cavity begins to get crowded, causing stomach acid to be pushed up through the newly weakened LES and into your esophagus.

    The good news about pregnancy heartburn is that, for most women, your symptoms will go away as soon as your baby is born! With that being said, we recognize that pregnancy heartburn can be incredibly uncomfortable, and 9 months is a long time to deal with that agonizing burn. Thankfully there are a few things you can do to decrease your chances of pregnancy heartburn and better manage your symptoms!

    Here are six of our top tips for reducing heartburn while pregnant.

    Recommended Reading: What Could Cause Constant Heartburn

    Can You Take Otc Medications For Indigestion And Pregnancy Heartburn

    There are a few over-the-counter medications that are considered safe during pregnancy. One of the most commonly used antacid is Gaviscon. It is available both in tablet and liquid form. This medicine neutralizes the digestive acids produced in our stomach.

    I used Gaviscon and Ranitidine throughout my pregnancy. Gaviscon was my saviour. I used Gviscon syrup 4-5 times a day before meals and bedtime. But dont take antacids and iron supplements together as the antacid hinders the iron absorption.

    If you feel that natural remedies are not working, you can have OTC medications as long as you gynae says it is OK to do so. So, I recommend that you talk to your doctor before taking any pills/ medications.

    Also, make sure you stick to the recommended dosage. If you do not get any respite, let your doctor know.

    Also read:

    What Does Gerd Feel Like During Pregnancy

    4 Steps to Relieve Heartburn in Pregnancy

    GERD can wear many hats and feel different in each individual, says Dr. Garza. Some may experience an intense burning sensation in the chest and throat, while for others it is a sharp pain just below and slightly to the left of the sternum. Some will have a sour taste or frequent regurgitation or burping. Often, symptoms are worse after meals, and this may make eating challenging, notes Dr. Ross.

    Because the symptoms can be wide-ranging and different for each person, it is important to know what symptoms are concerning. Rarely, GERD can cause severe esophageal irritation that leads to pain or difficulty with swallowing, or even bleeding. Passing dark or black stool would be concerning for the development of bleeding and should prompt an immediate discussion with your physician/obstetrician, says Dr. Garza. He also cautions that GERD does not typically cause shortness of breath, pain with breathing, nor chest pain with exertion. Any of these symptoms could be signs of a more worrisome complication of pregnancy, especially the development of a blood clot, and would indicate that medical advice is necessary.

    Also Check: Why Do I Constantly Get Heartburn

    When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Heartburn During Pregnancy

    If heartburn isnt going away, talk to your provider. They can prescribe medications that are safe to take while pregnant.

    You should also call your provider if you:

    • Have heartburn that wakes you up at night.
    • Have trouble swallowing.
    • Have black poop.
    • Are losing weight.

    Heartburn can have similar symptoms to a heart attack. If youve never had heartburn before and youre having chest pains, call your provider or head to the nearest ER.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Heartburn during pregnancy is a common pregnancy symptom, especially in the third trimester. You can prevent or get relief from heartburn during pregnancy by making a few changes to your diet, like eating more frequent but smaller meals and avoiding spicy or fried foods. Some yogurt or milk may also help relieve symptoms. Before you take antacids, be sure to check with your provider for the safest option to take during pregnancy.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/29/2021.

    References

    Rationale For A Review

    While heartburn rarely leads to serious consequences for the mother or developing baby, symptoms are very common and the condition has health service implications. There are a broad range of possible interventions, and the aim of the review is to systematically examine and evaluate evidence on their effectiveness. The lack of research evidence on safety means that it is particularly important to establish the effectiveness of treatments in order to avoid exposing pregnant women to unknown risks unless this is outweighed by clear benefits from treatment. It was anticipated that the review might add to the body of evidence on the safety of some of the medications used to treat heartburn in pregnancy.

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