When Will It End
Heartburn symptoms are usually mild and manageable. Tell your healthcare provider if your heartburn is severe, if you spit up blood, or have dark-colored bowel movements. This is a sign of blood in your digestive tract. Fortunately, heartburn usually ends with the birth of your baby and your body goes back to its nonpregnant state.
Be Aware Of Your Triggers
Citrus, fat, chocolate or caffeine these are all things that expecting mothers who experience heartburn have been recommended not to consume them. But leads to acid reflux in a certain woman may not be a triggering cause for another woman.
Rather than tell their patients to avoid a particular type of food, some doctors advise them to stay from some foods which tend to worsen them in particular. We are all different from one another. If some of the pregnant women out there are able to chow down when it comes to spaghetti or Mexican food, other ones cannot.
Listen To What Your Body Is Telling You
What you can eat during pregnancy is largely dependent on how certain foods make you feel. In your first trimester, you likely had aversions and foods that induced nausea just by looking at them. Now, certain foods may trigger heartburn. Fat, caffeine, chocolate, and citrus fruits are all common foods that cause heartburn during pregnancy. Know your triggers and stay away from them.
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Safe Medications During Pregnancy
Theres no doubt that along with the joys of pregnancy, women can and do experience uncomfortable side effects. If youre feeling under the weather, you may be wondering if over-the-counter remedies are safe for you and your baby. In most cases, its best to avoid OTC medications particularly in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. While some medications are safe to use in limited quantities, other medicines are known to increase the chance of birth defects or other problems.
If you have questions or are considering a medication thats not listed below, please reach out to your doctor for additional safety information. You should also call your doctor if you have a fever 100.4 F or greater, or if symptoms persist or worsen. The obstetrics specialists at Northeast Georgia Physicians Group are here to help you weigh the risks and benefits of prescription and over-the-counter medications that are safe to take during pregnancy.
How To Lower Your Risk Of Heartburn During Pregnancy
For some women, diet and lifestyle changes during pregnancy can lessen the likelihood of heartburn. Suggestions from OB/GYNs include: monitoring overall food consumption, eating smaller meals throughout the day, and reducing caffeine intake.2 Avoid eating or drinking too close to bedtime and stay away from spicy and fatty foods to lower your risk of occasional heartburn after dinner and at night.2 As far as specific items are concerned, citrus fruits and chocolate have been linked to trigger heartburn during pregnancy.6
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Does Pregnancy Cause Heartburn
Pregnancy increases your risk of heartburn or acid reflux. During the first trimester, muscles in your esophagus push food more slowly into the stomach and your stomach takes longer to empty.
This gives your body more time to absorb nutrients for the fetus, but it can also result in heartburn.
During the third trimester, the growth of your baby can push your stomach out of its normal position, which can lead to heartburn.
However, each woman is different. Being pregnant doesnt necessarily mean youll have heartburn. It depends on many factors, including your physiology, diet, daily habits, and your pregnancy.
Relieving heartburn during pregnancy typically involves some trial and error. Lifestyle habits that can reduce heartburn are often the safest methods for mother and baby. The following tips may help relieve your heartburn:
Causes Of Heartburn During Pregnancy
Heartburn in pregnancy may happen because of changing hormone levels, which can affect the muscles of the digestive tract and how your body handles different foods.
Pregnancy hormones can cause your lower esophageal sphincter to relax, allowing stomach acids to flow back up into your esophagus. Also, as your baby grows, your enlarged uterus can crowd the abdomen, pushing stomach acids upward. Although its rare, gallstones can also cause heartburn during pregnancy.
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Causes Of Heartburn In Pregnancy
Do you know how people always blaming hormones for any negative thing that happens during pregnancy? Crying all the time? Hormones. Being cranky? Hormones. Feeling tired the moment you wake up? You guessed it hormones.
So it comes as no surprise that hormones can also be a link between heartburn and pregnancy. In the early stages of pregnancy, your body starts to produce large amounts of progesterone that works towards relaxing your muscles. This process is great for your baby, as relaxed muscles lead to better absorption of nutrients, which then travel to the placenta and feed your baby.
However, progesterone can also loosen the lower oesophageal valve that otherwise separates your stomach and your oesophagus. Normally, this muscle opens to let the food or drink into your stomach, but closes tightly right afterwards. Unfortunately, high progesterone levels can cause weakness in this very important muscle, which results in acid backing up from your stomach to the oesophagus. This stomach acid can irritate the lining of your oesophagus and cause a very unpleasant burning sensation around your heart, which is exactly where the term heartburn derives from, even though its not connected to your heart at all.
Now that weve identified the causes of heartburn in pregnancy, lets have a closer look at what heartburn feels like when pregnant, so we dont mix up the symptoms with something else.
What Medications Can I Take For Heartburn During Pregnancy
Its important to be extremely careful about the medications you take when pregnant.
For heartburn relief, over-the-counter antacids are all considered safe medications to use during pregnancy.
As always, consult with your provider about any medications youre taking even if theyre considered safe.
If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking an over-the-counter medication, call your doctor immediately.
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Suffering From Pregnancy Heartburn 5 Top Tips To Relieve Heartburn During Pregnancy
If you are having pregnancy heartburn, you are definitely not alone! In fact, pregnancy heartburn affects 8/10 women at some point during their 9 months and – as you probably know by now – can be pretty unpleasant. Its been found that around 1/4 of women experience heartburn during pregnancy in their first trimester, 1/3 of women in their second trimester and 3/4 of women in their third trimester. So, whilst some things get better as your pregnancy progresses, pregnancy heartburn, although harmless is unfortunately, likely to get worse.
Thankfully there are some solutions and pregnancy heartburn remedies that have been tried and tested. To help you find pregnancy heartburn relief and put your mind at ease, weve put together a brief insight into what pregnancy heartburn actually is and some of the best ways to manage it.
What is pregnancy heartburn?
All heartburn, including heartburn during pregnancy, is caused by acid reflux: Acid from your stomach rises up through your food pipe , irritating it. This happens when a small muscle, located where the food pipe meets the stomach, is weak or too relaxed. Its job is to let food into the stomach and to stop food and acids from coming back out, but if it is weak, the stomachs contents are able to flow upwards. It can leave you with pain or a burning feeling in your chest and/or throat. It can also cause a hoarse voice, sickness, bloating, an unpleasant taste in your mouth and bad breath not fun!
Heartburn Symptoms During Pregnancy
Not every strange sensation in your body during pregnancy means something negative, something that youve probably learned from your own experience so far. However, the fear of the unknown is completely normal, and youre the best judge when it comes to knowing your body, so make sure you check with your doctor if you start experiencing any strange symptoms.
Since pregnancy, especially in the early months, is likely to leave you feeling bloated, burping and vomiting, which can result in a burning sensation in your throat, those symptoms can easily be mistaken for heartburn. However, heartburn can also come with some other symptoms that will enable you to determine whether youre actually experiencing it.
Pregnant women have reported the following signs connected to heartburn, so be on the watch in case you notice any of them:
The above-mentioned symptoms usually appear quite soon after eating or drinking, but bear in mind they can also occur at other times, so theres not one rule for everyone, all the time.
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If Youre Taking Prescription Medicines
Speak to your GP if youâre taking medicine for another condition, such as antidepressants, and you think it may be making your indigestion worse. They may be able to prescribe an alternative medicine.
Never stop taking a prescribed medicine unless youâre advised to do so by your GP or another qualified healthcare professional whoâs responsible for your care.
What Are The Causes Of Heartburn In Pregnancy
In early stages of pregnancy, the body starts producing big quantities of progesterone which has a relaxing effect on muscles, which enables better absorption of nutrients that feed the baby. However, progesterone can also loosen the lower esophageal sphincter which separates the stomach from esophagus. However, if it is too relaxed, stomach acid might go back from the stomach into the esophagus which might cause a very uncomfortable burning sensation around the heart .
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When Should I Talk To My Doctor
If you have heartburn that often wakes you up at night, returns as soon as your antacid wears off, or creates other symptoms , you may have a more serious problem that requires attention.
Your doctor may diagnose you with GERD. This means that your heartburn needs to be controlled to protect you from complications such as damage to the esophagus.
Your doctor may prescribe certain acid-reducing medications to reduce your symptoms. Research indicates that medications called H2 blockers, which help block the production of acid, appear to be safe.
Another type of medication, called proton pump inhibitors, is used for people with heartburn that doesnt respond to other treatments.
If youre concerned about the effects of medications, be sure to talk to your doctor. Doctors can help you control your symptoms while keeping your unborn child safe.
Baking Soda For Heartburn
Chances are good that you have baking soda in your kitchen and if you dont you should really be aware of all the fantastic uses for baking soda and keep it on hand all the time. It is brilliant for household cleaning, for beauty and for health remedies too.
Making use of baking soda for heartburn is fantastic because it is highly effective, you probably always have baking soda in your kitchen, it is a natural remedy and it is inexpensive.
To get rid of heartburn mix in half a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Make sure to stir it until the baking soda is completely dissolved. Drink it slowly. You can repeat it every 2 hours.
The key ingredient in baking soda that helps to relieve heartburn is sodium bicarbonate. The sodium bicarbonate quickly neutralizes the stomach acid which relieves the symptoms of heartburn temporarily.
It is important not to take more than 7 doses in a day and if you are over 60 years old keep that down to 3 doses daily.
Taking in too much baking soda can result in acid rebound where more acid is produced making your heartburn problem even worse.
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Heartburn In Pregnancy: Acid Reflux Or Gerd
The terms heartburn, acid reflux and GERD are often used interchangeably, even though they actually mean different things.
Acid reflux is quite a common medical condition that comes with symptoms varying from mild to more serious. When acid reflux appears chronically and in a more severe form, we are talking about GERD. Heartburn is a symptom of both acid reflux as well as GERD.
This article focuses on heartburn during pregnancy and its various causes, which can be connected to both GERD and acid reflux.
Every woman is different, so its difficult to define all the early signs of pregnancy. However, heartburn is one of the common signs that something special is going on in your body in early pregnancy, especially if you cant think of any other triggering factors.
S To Get Rid Of Heartburn During Pregnancy
1. Monitor your Food Intake
Doctors advise expectant mothers to eat less in one meal. Instead of consuming a huge chunk of food at one go, one should break up their meals into smaller portions and divide it evenly through the day. Basically, as an alternative to eating two square meals a day, patients are advised to consume four to six mini meals.
The stomach has lesser space to expand since the growing fetus takes up much room. Eating less solves the problem and prevents gaining additional pounds that only aggravate the condition further. Moreover, the meals around lunch time should be heavier while keeping the morning and night meals lighter. This allows the body to have more time to digest the heavy meal. Smaller and healthier meals will prevent heartburns throughout the course of pregnancy.
2. Avoid Foods that can Trigger a Heartburn
Several food items can increase the possibility of a heartburn episode. These food items should be strictly eliminated from the diet of the expectant mother. Some examples of such food substances include spicy food, foods that are high on acids like citrus fruits , tomatoes, chocolates, coffee, alcohol and oily or fried foods. Try and recognize your individual heartburn triggers.
3. Incorporate Fluids into your Meals
4. Calcium-containing Antacids
5. Stay Hydrated
6. Dress Loose and Flowy
7. Plan your Sleep Schedule
8. Chew on Sugar-Free Gum
9. Consume Papaya
10. Home Remedies
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What Makes It Worse
Most spicy, greasy, fatty foods known for causing heartburn are also likely to cause problems for pregnant women. Food doesnt digest as well or move as quickly during pregnancy. So, eating large meals or overeating in general can also increase the risk for heartburn. Eating right before bedtime can cause problems, too. Smoking makes heartburn worse and is another reason to quit, especially while pregnant.
What To Drink For Heartburn During Pregnancy
If youre wondering what to drink when expecting a baby and plagued by indigestion, there are many beverages that you can sip on throughout the day for relief.
- Milk. The alkaline composition of milk including cows milk and nut milks can provide immediate relief from heartburn. Just stay away from milk that is high in fat, as fatty foods can cause even worse heartburn.
- Coconut water. Coconut water is very high in electrolytes which promote pH balance and help to neutralize stomach acid.
- Herbal tea. Ginger, fennel, peppermint, and marshmallow root are all heartburn remedies that can be found in tea form. Sip on herbal tea in between meals to prevent or relieve heartburn.
- Water. Thats right good old water. Sip on it throughout the day to make sure that you stay hydrated so that your digestive system can work as efficiently as possible without any hitches in the form of indigestion.
Avoid beverages that may exacerbate symptoms include caffeinated drinks such as coffee or green, white and black tea, carbonated drinks, and acidic drinks such as orange juice.
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Why Treat Heartburn And Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
Heartburn and acid reflux are traditionally considered innocuous because they are common in pregnancy and are usually self-limiting. However, a recent study suggests that GERD is associated with an increase in the severity of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy , which can have serious negative effects on a womans quality of life. In a prospective cohort study conducted by the Motherisk Program, 194 pregnant women with NVP and heartburn or acid reflux were compared with 188 pregnant women with NVP who did not have heartburn or acid reflux. The 2 groups were assessed for severity of NVP with the pregnancy-unique quantification of emesis and nausea score, which is a validated scoring tool based on frequency and duration of nausea, vomiting, and retching in the past 24 hours, with a high score indicating more severe NVP. Quality of life was measured by the well-being score, with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best. Forty-eight percent of women in the control group had severe NVP according to the PUQE, compared with 75% in the group with heartburn and acid reflux. The mean well-being score in the control group was significantly higher than that in the group with heartburn and acid reflux .
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.
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