Understanding The Oesophagus And Stomach
When we eat, food passes down the gullet into the stomach. Cells in the lining of the stomach make acid and other chemicals which help to digest food.
Stomach cells also make mucus which protects them from damage caused by the acid. The cells lining the oesophagus are different and have little protection from acid.
There is a circular band of muscle at the junction between the oesophagus and stomach. This relaxes to allow food down but normally tightens up and stops food and acid leaking back up into the oesophagus. In effect, the sphincter acts like a valve.
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.
Your Hormones May Be The Reason For Newfound Heartburn Symptoms
Many women experience heartburn for the first time while pregnant. In fact, 40 to 80 percent of all pregnant women will have heartburn.1 You should speak to your doctor if you are experiencing heartburn and ask for guidance on how to manage and treat it.
There can be two main reasons why being pregnant can cause heartburn. The first has to do with the body’s increasing hormone levels. These hormones act as a muscle relaxant that helps prepare your body for childbirth. The downside? An increase in hormones may also relax the lower esophageal sphincter the valve responsible for keeping stomach acid from moving up into the esophagus where it doesn’t belong. If the LES is relaxed, the acid in your stomach can push up into your esophagus. This acid may irritate your esophagus, causing heartburn.2
The second cause of heartburn in pregnant women develops as the pregnancy progresses. Babies grow at an incredible rate, and as they do, their increasing size can put pressure on your stomach. Often, this increased pressure can push the acid in your stomach up past the LES and back into your esophagus, causing heartburn.3
While your heartburn will likely stop after giving birth, if you breast-feed, your hormones may change again to trigger heartburn. Additionally, women who experience heartburn while pregnant have an increased risk for developing heartburn or GERD later in life.
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Why Do Pregnant Women Get Heartburn
During pregnancy, hormone changes cause the muscles in your esophagus to relax, which allows stomach acid to rise up into the esophagus. It happens more frequently after you’ve eaten and when you’re lying down. As your pregnancy progresses, your growing uterus can put more pressure on your stomach, resulting in stomach acid and even food to push up into your esophagus.
Feeling The Burn Tips To Manage Heartburn Gerd In Pregnancy
Heartburn is common in adults especiallyduring pregnancy. While some research suggests women who have moderateheartburn during pregnancy give birth to babies with fullerheads of hair, having symptoms more than twice a week might be asign of gastroesophageal reflux disease , or recurrent heartburn.
According to a study of 510 pregnant women, approximately 26% have GERD symptomsduring the first trimester. The rate jumps to 36% in the second trimester and51% during the third trimester. Thats substantial compared with the 20% of adults in the U.S. who experienceheartburn.
Why the increase in symptoms during pregnancy? Progesterone, a hormone that increases early in pregnancy, relaxessmooth muscle in the body. It helps your uterus stretch to accommodate thegrowing fetus, but also reduces the reliability of the esophageal sphincter aring-like structure that seals off stomach contents from the throat.
Increased pressure placed on the stomachexternally from the growing uterus, especially in the third trimester, can alsoworsen heartburn symptoms such as:
- Burning pain in the center of thechest, especially after eating
- Sour or bitter taste in the mouth
- Sore throat or cough
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When To Call The Doctor
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.
Pregnancy Sign: Sore Breasts
Before you start cursing your bra for suddenly feeling more like a contraption from the hardware store than the lacy lingerie that took a serious chunk out of your paycheque, consider that your newly sore boobs could be a sign that youre pregnant. Breast tenderness is another common early pregnancy sign, according to Nordahl. For many women, what can make this symptom particularly confusing is that breast soreness is also a very common sign of your period. But early on in your pregnancy, your breasts may hurt because theyre expanding in preparation for producing milk.
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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:
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 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 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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Does The Heartburn Stop After Birth
Probably a stupid question.Pretty much what it says in the title had a pretty easy pregnancy I think but as I get nearer the end I am starting to get really fed up with the heartburn medication doesn’t seem to work and it’s keeping me up at night and messing with my diet. So please can anyone tell me if it will end when I give birt or could it linger for a while?
Definitely will stop after baby is born. Right now youve got a person squeezing all your internal organs into positions they should not be in!Stick with!
Mine always cleared up pretty quick once baby was out so I was a bit emptier inside and the hormones had shifted.But also, if it’s that bad, go discuss with your GP. It was so bad in my first pregnancy I was on omeprazole for a bit which really helped. Have managed with heartburn liquid in later pregnancies
I was drinking gaviscon like it was water at some points of my pregnancy. The day after the birth I needed a few sips, but by day 2 I was fine. I did keep the bottle on my bedside table as I did need the odd sip during night feeds, however, that was down to me not eating/drinking enough. Hope you are feeling better soon!
I’m in the same boat! Been awake all night with it so far! I had it from around 12 to 26 week then it slowed down but now at 33 week it’s awful! Currently sat up in bed and laying down triggers it!!
Nope. 5 years on and mine is so bad.
What Does Heartburn Feel Like
Heartburn typically feels like a burning in the center of your chest, behind your breastbone. When you have heartburn, you may also feel symptoms like:
- A burning feeling in your chest that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
- Pain in your chest when you bend over or lay down.
- A burning feeling in your throat.
- A hot, sour, acidic or salty taste in the back of your throat.
- Difficulty swallowing.
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When Does Heartburn Start In Pregnancy
Initial symptoms of heartburn can appear quite early in pregnancy, even around the second month. As such, heartburn can be an early sign of pregnancy in many women.
However, the symptoms can worsen later in pregnancy, especially when you reach the third trimester. The reason for this is the growing uterus that puts more pressure on your stomach and organs.
As described earlier in the article, this can result in the stomach contents spilling out and up into the food pipe, and causing that unpleasant burning sensation.
Since almost a half of all pregnant women experience heartburn, which often lasts throughout the whole pregnancy, this unpleasant phenomenon is not only one of the earliest signs of pregnancy but also one of the most common.
During pregnancy, your body produces more of the progesterone hormone which relaxes smooth muscles including the ring of muscle in your lower esophagus that normally keeps food and acids down in your stomach. This muscle relaxation can lead to acid reflux, otherwise known as heartburn.
When Can I Expect Heartburn To End
Someday, scientists may very well invent a miracle medication that promises permanent pregnancy heartburn relief. Unfortunately, that hasnt happened yet.
So, if youre wondering how long you can expect to deal with heartburn while youre pregnant, it will probably be throughout your entire pregnancy.
However, just because theres no cure, that doesnt mean you cant find some relief in the meantime.
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When To See Your Doctor
If you are suffering from persistent heartburn that isnt relieved by any of the natural methods above, you may need to take medication. However, before taking any tablets during pregnancy, its 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.
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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How To Soothe Heartburn During Pregnancy
Heartburn is a real pain whenever it decides to appear, but unfortunately it’s even more likely to rear its ugly head during pregnancy.
Heartburn during pregnancy tends to happen as your body undergoes lots of hormonal changes and the growing baby often presses against your stomach. Unfortunately, this can cause some stomach pain otherwise known as indigestion, heartburn or acid reflux.
But luckily, you can help ease the condition yourself and its rarely ever something to worry about. The NHS advises simple lifestyle changes to limit the change of heartburn throughout your pregnancy and suggests that medications such antacids and alginates could be beneficial for a short-term solution.
If youre feeling that nasty burning sensation right after eating, you might need this complete guide to soothing heartburn during pregnancy, quickly and safely.
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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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.
Talk To Your Doctor About Heartburn Medications
This includes over-the-counter ones some are safe to take during pregnancy.
Antacids help neutralize the acid in your stomach and quell that burning sensation. The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health says OTC antacids containing calcium carbonate are safe to use.
If you havent been able to quiet your heartburn with lifestyle changes, your doctor may suggest heartburn drugs like Tagamet and Prilosec, which are generally considered safe during pregnancy. While these drugs are available OTC, you might receive a prescription for a stronger dose if your doctor thinks its warranted.
When youre pregnant, you have to think about the safety of everything you put into and on your body. Some heartburn medications that might be OK for your nonpregnant sister but not for you include:
- Antacids containing sodium bicarbonate, which can increase swelling.
- Antacids containing aspirin, which can be toxic to your baby. Aspirin use during pregnancy has been associated with pregnancy loss, heart defects, and bleeding on the brain in premature infants.
- Antacids containing magnesium trisilicate, which havent been proven safe to use in pregnancy.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Heartburn Or Acid Reflux
Heartburn feels like a strong burning sensation in the chest and can be extremely uncomfortable. It is also known as acid reflux and indigestion .
Heartburn can show itself as a discomfort , bloating, wind, burping and nausea. Youll be able to compare notes with a lot of other mum friends as up to eight out of ten pregnant women get heartburn .
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